A BUYER’S GUIDE TO CYBER-SHOPPING

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — Forget predictions that the Internet signals the end of print media. The search engine Yahoo has begat not one, but now two consumer magazines.
The first was Yahoo Internet Life, a four-year-old Internet consumer magazine that has now spun off eShopper, a glossy, quarterly, service-oriented guide for consumers who want to shop on the Internet but don’t want to spend a lot of time wandering in cybermalls.
The summer edition, which hits newsstands Tuesday, is actually the second incarnation of the magazine. Ziff Davis Media Inc., the publisher of Yahoo Internet Life and eShopper, had tried a different version of the magazine in December 1999 but scrapped it after one issue. The initial print run is 400,000, with half of that going to the newsstands at $4.99 and half being sent to demographically appropriate customers, said associate publisher Geoffrey Maresca.
The new eShopper, said editor Laura Fisher Kaiser, is targeted to a wealthier, more sophisticated customer who is used to the idea of Internet shopping and now wants some shortcuts to the right sites.
“We discovered there is an audience out there for something more upscale,” said Fisher Kaiser. “We’ll have information about how to charter a plane, but since what a lot of people really look for on a travel site is the cheapest ticket, we’ll have that too.”
EShopper developed out of Yahoo Internet Life’s annual fashion issue. But “nobody was doing style,” said Kaiser. And the redesigned, slick look of eShopper is an important part of the new approach. The cover, for example, features Claudia Schiffer in a Marc Jacobs cashmere bikini, styled by L’Wren Scott. There are spreads inside on beauty, accessories and dog leashes.
Departments for the quarterly magazine will include home, “passions” — which includes hobbies and arts — beauty and fashion, finances and gadgets, travel and children. In the first issue, there is a feature on Schiffer, columns on services and sales online, and the best selections for putting together a picnic or buying dog leashes.
There will also a regular feature called “e-venger,” where eShopper staff will follow up on readers’ frustrated shopping dilemmas.
“Yahoo Internet Life is a tool about a tool,” said Maresca. “EShopper is the same thing.
“We’re also going to be a consumer advocate,” he said. “It becomes very confusing when companies are starting and merging and closing. There is so much to look at and evaluate. We’re going to try to demystify the whole thing.”
EShopper isn’t the only hard-copy shopping guide making its debut: eShopping Magazine, which is slated to premiere in July, is being done by Larkin Publications of Needham, Mass. It will include regular features on fashion, lifestyle and luxury goods, travel and family.