FLIPPING OVER: Questions are being raised around the halls of 4 Times Square about Flip.com, Condé Nast’s new teen networking site. Pointing to small traffic numbers and a whispered lack of enthusiasm from higher ups about the project, despite a heavy financial investment in the site’s technology, naysayers believe Flip has so far been a bit of a flop. “Thank God it wasn’t my idea,” said one insider. Meanwhile, Flip just lost one of its editors, Holly Siegel, to Ellegirl.com.
But Flip.com publisher Jane Grenier isn’t worried. “The site represents innovation for the company,” she said, referring to Flip’s Flash-heavy technology and the site itself, which is Condé Nast’s first foray into online social networking. “Do we all want to see the site be larger? Absolutely. Is bigger the number-one metric by which we define success? Absolutely not.”
Unique visitors, a metric used for most Web sites to determine their growth, have averaged around 250,000 since Flip’s February launch, according to internal figures supplied by Grenier (for comparison, seventeen.com generated 542,000 unique visitors in August). Grenier said she expects traffic to dip for September and October because marketing the site came to a halt during those months while it added several upgrades. However, said Grenier, “Our determination of whether this site is successful is not based on a panic check of uniques.” Measurements that show each user is spending more time on the site are more promising. Time spent per session has grown to 8.5 minutes since February; page views per unique user have doubled to 15 pages per session from eight.
One reason so much attention is paid to the traffic number is because it’s a key metric advertisers use to determine whether a site has a big enough audience to merit investing ad dollars. Flip doesn’t provide a large reach for advertisers, but it does provide stickiness. In the past few months, the site has added as advertisers Guess and television network CW, which is hosting a number of promotions on Flip around its “Gossip Girl” series.
Grenier said reaching new girls is a challenge Flip will tackle in mid-November. One initiative is the launch of Scholarflip, where users can win scholarships to college. The program will be a partnership with a number of special interest youth groups, from cheerleading organization AmeriCheer to Do Something. — Stephanie D. Smith
STYLE BAZAAR: After 140 years of reporting on fashion, Harper’s Bazaar believes it’s time to publish some sort of manual — at least according to its rules. “Great Style” includes advice taken from the columns and features of the Hearst fashion title, from dressing your age to shopping like an expert, coupled with red-carpet photographs of celebrities and commentary by Carolina Herrera, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Donatella Versace, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Narciso Rodriguez, among others. Jenny Levin, former senior fashion news editor at Bazaar, wrote the book before leaving the magazine in June — she has since relocated to Hong Kong with her family, but continues to contribute to the title. Hearst Books, a division of Sterling Publishing Co., will publish the book Nov. 15. And while the idea of a style guide is far from unique (Details also is coming out with one this fall, obviously for men), the book is just one of several initiatives as Bazaar marks its anniversary with its November issue. Polybagged with the issue will be a second edition of “A Fashionable Life,” a home and entertaining spin-off. — S.D.S.