If Oprah Were in Charge of MySpace

Media Morph: Divine Caroline.com

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: DivineCaroline.com.
DivineCaroline.com targets adult women, and two others set to launch will target young women and teens.
DivineCaroline.com targets adult women, and two others set to launch will target young women and teens.

What it is: What MySpace might look like if Oprah were in charge. The first of three community sites from Real Girls Media, DivineCaroline is the antithesis of the uber-masculine sentiment of Heavy.com, Break.com and Metacafe. The site targets adult women, and two others set to launch will target young women and teens. DivineCaroline doesn't yet feature much video, but that is in the works. "We're trying to democratize what is usually editorialized," founder Kate Thorp said. Users contribute essays and articles to nine sections ranging from parenting to body and soul to travel to money. "We want people to go from an article that leads to a conversation and forum," Ms. Thorp said.

The competition: Established players such as iVillage and the soon-to-be-relaunched MarthaStewart.com, along with new social networks such as Sisterwoman.

Who's behind it: Big names in online advertising -- Ms. Thorp was president of AKQA. Marketers including Target and Doubletree Hotels have signed on to run ads.

Cool tools: The idea is to connect women through writing, so DivineCaroline has solicited stories on topics such as whether wine and playdates mix and "Preparing your toddler for another baby." Each is reviewed for spelling and grammar before it is posted on the web. Women can rate the stories and keep track of their favorite authors via profile pages. They can also build personalized newsletters to blast to their friends.

The challenge: Attracting eyeballs. Myriad niche-targeted social-network and community sites will all be competing for attention, and it's still unclear whether the Real Girls Media sites will be able to attract the scale necessary to make them viable for major advertisers in the long term.
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