"Nobody is turning a profit. . . . Publishers . . . didn't have clear goals when their sites were launched, and when you don't, it's hard to know if you're meeting them."
Out last month shut down its nearly two-year-old gay and lesbian site (http://www.out.
com). Under an agreement with PlanetOut, a competitor, visitors to Out's site will be sent to PlanetOut (http://www.planetout.com). Out will help sell ads on the site.
'NO HOPE OF PROFITABILITY'
The Out site lost $50,000 to $100,000 annually, said Mr. Scott, who joined Out in February 1996, after the site had launched.
Even with advertisers such as Apple Computer, Clairol and Nynex Corp., Mr. Scott said there was "no hope of profitability."
He said he didn't want to ask his ad sales staff to focus more on the Web site when the print magazine was doing well. First-quarter ad revenues were up 43% over the same period in 1996, he said, though ad pages are flat.
"I started thinking, 'What are we getting from the Web site?' " he said. "I thought I needed to have it for advertisers who wanted that, but advertisers aren't clamoring to get on the Web-we have to beat them up to get on the Web!"
Ironically, Out's assets didn't go without a fight. Mediapolis, the site's New York Web developer, tried to direct visitors to its own site, DataLounge (http://www. datalounge.com). Mr. Scott sent several legal notices to reclaim