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Millions of holiday shoppers discovered the Internet last year as a hassle-free way to purchase presents. This year, magazine publishers have discovered a way to target those online gift givers.

Ziff-Davis' Yahoo! Internet Life will spin off eshopper in November. Earlier this summer, Meredith Corp. and Hearst Magazines' Good Housekeeping unveiled separate plans for Internet shopping guides for this holiday season. Ziff-Davis is a bit more aggressive; it already plans to publish eshopper as a quarterly next year.

"Last year, Yahoo!'s shopping sites did $1 million in sales every day of the fourth quarter," said Yahoo! Internet Life Publisher Paul Turcotte. "From our early prognosis of interest levels, we are being very bullish."


The spate of new entries comes just two years after Alan Meckler, chairman-CEO of Mecklermedia, declared the consumer market for Internet titles finished.

Mecklermedia, now owned by Penton Publishing, was an early player in the online guide world; in 1997, it began publishing Internet Shopper, but because of low consumer interest the monthly magazine was transformed into a Web site, www.internetshopper.com.

By Internet standards, two years is enough time for a sea change.

"Two things happened: last Christmas and this Christmas," said James Spanfeller, Ziff-Davis exec VP-publishing director.


The 1998 holiday season was declared the e-commerce Christmas after online spending topped $3 billion, according to Jupiter Communications research. At the end of 1998, the U.S. had 83.4 million online users; only 26% didn't shop online.

This year, the number of Web surfers is expected to top 100 million and most are likely to shop online. Jupiter estimates the percentage of folks who don't make purchases through the Web will drop to 24%.

Advertisers in the first issue of eshopper include Bluefly, L.L. Bean, and Crutchfield, an electronics catalog and online e-commerce site.

"It was very clear to us that this was a magazine extremely well positioned in the marketplace," said Ken Seif, CEO of Bluefly. "We normally don't advertise in inaugural issues, but we were so compelled by the look and content of the book that we thought this was a really interesting chance to participate in launch of a magazine."

Added Robin Lebow, VP-customer acquisitions for Crutchfield: "As more and more people are coming online, they may not be as familiar with how to navigate around the Web to get what they want. If they are more comfortable with the print world, we want to target them there."

Ziff-Davis will send 200,000 copies of eshopper to newsstands with a cover price of $3.99. An additional 200,000 copies will be sent to Yahoo!'s most recent online shoppers, who will get the first copy of the combination lifestyle magazine and shopping guide free. The magazine will be promoted to potential subscribers online at Yahoo!'s shopping areas.

A color page sells for $7,000. The date of the second issue had not been set.


Another spinoff from the Yahoo! Internet Life brand is planned for early next year. Editor in Chief Barry Golson describes the still-to-be-named title as "an annual that will give you everything you need to brush up on your Web basics."

Separately, Krause Publications introduced eBay Magazine this month, a spinoff

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