Conde Nast's Web Experiments

What Everyone Is Talking About

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NEW YORK ( -- Until recently, Conde Nast Publications has emphasized its big, multi-title portals, such as, and its individual titles' companion sites. But check out and you'll see that the online Conde way could headed in some very different directions.

At, a personalized celebrity-news aggregator operated by Conde Web division CondeNet, signed-in visitors can view and vote on articles from all over the Internet. Recent headlines include "Casey Affleck, Summer Phoenix Wed," "A Diamond Binky for Shiloh Nouvel" and "Kristin Cavallari Not Stepping Into Jessica Simpson's Padded Shorts."

But Conde isn't making much noise about it -- it took a post on yesterday to draw attention to the relationship between Lipstick and CondeNet.

It turns out to be one of several experiments by CondeNet, and not the only one, said Jamie Pallot, editorial director, CondeNet. " is one of several tests that we have running at the moment of new technologies matched up to Conde Nast-style content," he said. "It's part of our brief here to marry new technological developments with our traditional content subject matter."

The long-term results remain unclear. "The Internet moves at such speed," he said. "The point is to try bunch of things and to be nimble and move fast, and when we see an application, to develop it."

The site was built by, looks and works like, a personalized news aggregator created by "two recent University of Virginia grads, a Harvard grad student and a Stanford dropout," Steve Huffman, Alexis Ohanian, Chris Slowe and Aaron Swartz.

What has become clear is that Conde Nast and CondeNet are moving into new areas of the Web and new ways to use it. While company sites such as and offer trusted brands and vetted, Conde-generated content, Lipstick offers (safe-for-work) content that visitors submit and allows each visitor to vote thumbs-up and thumbs-down on headlines presented. There is not a single ad to be found.

Asked what other CondeNet tests are up and running elsewhere around the Web, Mr. Pallot demurred. "You found one," he said.

Meanwhile, over at this week, the weekly goes outside its usual sparse postings of columns and Talk of the Town pieces to provide a photo slide show and audio report that ties in with its "Dispatches from Iraq: Soldiers' Stories." It's all part of a National Endowment for the Arts endeavor called Operation Homecoming, which is compiling letters, diary entries and e-mails from Iraq-deployed soldiers through a series of writing workshops. As the stories will also be highlighted in a TV documentary, all in all it represents a robust bit of multimedia muscle not usually flexed by the magazine.
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