Celeb-Backed Site Gets Chilly Reception in Blogosphere

What Everyone Is Talking About

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More magazine keeps roaring along, having just completed its fabulous 40-plus model search in New York, and Martha Stewart is apparently contemplating her own magazine for a slightly older crowd. But now the online competition is heating up too.
Women's work: Media pros set up destination for the 40-plus set.
Women's work: Media pros set up destination for the 40-plus set.

Last week The New York Times reported, and everybody picked up, that a team of celebrities and executives was introducing a site for women 40 years old and up -- enthusiastically called Wowowow in a play on "women on the web."

Wowowow's five founders, who put up a total of $1 million among them, are a who's who of the target audience: Liz Smith, the New York Post columnist; Mary Wells, the renowned ad executive who helped create campaigns such as "I Love New York"; Peggy Noonan, the presidential speechwriter turned political columnist; Leslie Stahl, the "60 Minutes" correspondent; and Joni Evans, former president of Simon & Schuster. Those five in turn recruited contributors including Whoopi Goldberg, Marlo Thomas and Candice Bergen.

The site's content, which will be crucial in competing against iVillage and other platforms already catering to all kinds of women, will include blog posts, political writing, horoscopes, visitor comments, conversations à la "The View" and, eventually, social-networking pages. We're not sure what to make of the prelaunch site's jokey weather report, which reads, "Bad Hair Day Weather: Humid!"

Reaction from one baby-boomer blog was hardly welcoming. "Welcome to the third act, ladies," read a post at Going Like Sixty, listing sites that have come before, such as BlogHer. "I'm sorry you missed the first two acts, but since you have lots of money and some excellent advisers, you certainly can figure out what's been going on."

Gawker, on the younger hand, called it "your mom's new favorite site." If that bears out, we'd like to suggest it forms a partnership with Snopes.com to reduce the number of bogus e-mail chains being propagated by well-meaning mothers.

But let's watch how Wowowow plays out without all the pre-emptive judgment. In our experience, women over 40 know their business far better than the media game tends to admit.
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