INTERNET’S TOP HITS

Byline: Valerie Seckler

Glamour and glimpses of celebrities are luring the most viewers to features in nascent on-line fashion and lifestyle magazines.
A remembrance book about the late Princess Diana, on a People OnLine super site, for instance, prompted 30,000 individuals to leave virtual roses and written messages in the two weeks following the site’s launch Sept. 3, a few days after Diana’s death. People OnLine has had a Web site for two years.
“It was an incredible tragedy, but it introduced a whole new range of users to us — who we hope to retain,” said Marianne Goldstein, editor of People OnLine. “We’ve held on to a significant portion of that traffic.”
Traffic at People OnLine, found at people.com, climbed to 5.2 million hits in the week after the Di site bowed, according to Goldstein. She declined to provide People OnLine’s weekly average, but said the 5.2 million figure marked a “substantial” increase over the norm.
“People had done 43 covers on Princess Di before her death, so she is closely linked to the magazine,” Goldstein noted. “This made People OnLine a natural place for people to turn to.”
Similarly, viewers of Cosmopolitan’s Internet magazine — found at cosmomag.com — have most frequently visited features that evoke a strong personal response.
“Our Web site ends up doing best when we allow folks to write to us to answer questions that we put up,” said Mark Golin, deputy editor of Cosmo’s Web site publication. Last Sunday, for example, Cosmo asked its browsers: “What’s the most amazing Valentine experience you’ve ever had?”
The query is expected to bring “a couple of thousand” responses over the next few weeks, Golin said.
“These Q-and-A pages tend to be one of the best-read features in the magazine, which helps to build interest for the Web publication,” he noted.
Also racking up lots of page views in the year-old electronic mag have been tips on fashion, beauty, sex and health that aren’t carried in Cosmo’s printed publication, and horoscopes that are changed weekly.
“It’s becoming harder and harder to get people to respond on the Internet,” Golin admitted. “Every few seconds, they’re being bombarded by questions at another Web site.”
Elle Online has found that glamour is its top draw: The site’s hottest feature is its Model Gallery, photographs of models, along with brief write-ups on them and the fashion.
“The Model Gallery gets around 62,000 page views a month, while Elle Online gets about 2 million page views a month, both on the Web and America Online,” said Jim Docherty, president of Hachette Fillipachi New Media.
Other chart toppers at Elle Online include the Glamorous Gowns and Sexy Swimwear features launched in January and still up on the two-year-old Web site. The gowns are snagging an average of 18,000 hits per month, and the swimwear an average of 13,000 every month, according to Docherty.
Although some 70 percent of the Net’s users are male, Docherty said the ads being viewed at the Model Gallery — for products that would not interest most men — suggest most of the Gallery’s visitors are women.

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