"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 16 April 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.



[It's About Content]

Whether you're trying to cater

to or create a new niche, nine

out of ten fledgling

empire-builders choose magazine

publishing. It's a beautiful

thing to see the realm of

publishing maturing to the same

lofty levels as the Billboard

100, where everybody can at

least agree that a hit must have

no more than four and no fewer

than two chords. And unlike the

WebTV hybrids that will

ultimately take their place,

paper-based stabs at

audience-building still have the

potential to be literally, if

not ideologically, combustible.




ventures are not without peril.

Claustrophobia can easily set in

when one finds that it's not

great minds that think alike,

nor even narrow minds, so much

as like minds - the end results

are as demoralizing as they are

redundant. We haven't asked, but

we're sure the folks at Wired

are smarting at the thought of

newsstand browsers confusing

them with Virtual City. What

difference does it make whether

they were separated at birth or

a few years down the line?



MEAT MARKET: More clever by a

half than Virtual City, though,

is the new Larry Flynt magazine,

Rage. Described as "Wired meets

Rolling Stone meets Penthouse,"

Rage could be the ultimate

masturbate-and-switch miracle.

Just when accusations of selling

lifestyles rather than

point of view reach their nadir,

leave it to Flynt to return to

selling lifestyles as a

diversionary tactic for

selling smut. Of course, the

beauty of our age is the

emergence of a medium perfectly

suited to guilty pleasures.

While we're sure the typical

Rage reader would value

something he could wrap his

hands around, it's easier to

imagine the Hustler server doing

a little choking of its own.




ideas are brilliant precisely to

the extent that they're obvious.

Take recent Freedom

Communications investee P.O.V.,

whose recent cover feature on

jobs adroitly visualizes the

issue via a deft licensing of a

few key Viacom properties. If a

briefcased Butthead chortling

into a cel phone doesn't say it

all, ponder this conundrum: in

its latest issue, P.O.V. names

"online content producer" in

their 10 Career Fields to Get

Into list (second only to

"computer animator"). We'd

volunteer to disabuse them of

their fanciful notions, but this

"Bible for young professionals,

skewed toward men" obviously

knows better - URLs are just

like POVs: talking about one is

almost as good as owning one.


[Absolut Kelly]

OUT OF CONTROL: Naturally, the

real cutting edge of publishing

is the intensely personal,

quirky zine and its Web-based

offshoot, the home page. Anyone

who's ever dabbled in either

craft will be viciously humbled

by the news that Wired's

executive editor, Kevin Kelly, has

not only pushed the envelope,

he's stamped and dated it.

Kelly's upcoming home page,

a glistening expectoration of

insightful theory and

self-promotion, also happens to

be a mammoth Seagram ad: Absolut

Kelly. It's exactly these sorts

of little triumphs that drive us

to drink.




your personal plans for tapping

the riches of niches ever wilts,

sniff for pick-me-ups in the

bumblings of the big boys. Conde

Nast's condenet.com, though

featuring a svelte 200-odd words

of prose on its top page, is

still an economical statement of

mission. What do Epicurious,

CNTraveler, and CondeNast

magazines have in common? Well,

despite the lipservice paid to

expression, interactivity,

connection, and it being "all

about content," we'd still

suggest reading between the

lines (or at least the


courtesy of the Duke of URL