Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

July 24, 2007 May Live on as Virtual Successor to Closed Magazine May Live on as Virtual Successor to Closed Magazine is the online extension of Vibe Vixen, a spinoff of Vibe magazine that launched in early 2005 as a "girly version of what the ladies love about Vibe," according to its editor in chief. Interestingly, a "vixen" is formally defined either as "an ill-tempered or quarrelsome woman," or "a malicious woman with a fierce temper," but I somehow doubt that Vibe/Spinoff Ventures considered this when they came up with this title.

The magazine's launch, with 138 pages, only 50 of them containing ads, was unimpressive, and things seem not to have improved much in 2 years. This has been a bitter season for magazines, with closings at Jane, Business 2.0, and now Vibe Vixen. What's killing them? Well higher postal and paper costs, plus the fact that the brand advertisers they depend on are increasingly moving their ad dollars to targeted, Internet-based ad channels.

Note 7/25: I had originally slammed the Vibe Vixen Web Site as being badly out of date and filled with static content. But as I was informed by Vibe Vixen's Online Editor (who was really very nice about it), that's because I mistakenly linked to the wrong file ( This happened because the correct file ( doesn't currently appear in Google (which ranks vixen.html as being more relevant than index.html for some peculiar reason). Consequently, the real site isn't even displayed on the first or even the second page of Google's SERPs.

Unfortunately, I'm probably not the only person who's used Google to find Vibe Vixen and has been mistakenly routed to a static promotional page instead of the correct site. I informed Vibe Vixen's Editor that she needs to do something to correct this situation, because she's losing traffic (Google has more than a 50 percent share of query volume).

Will survive and thrive where its print counterpart failed? Perhaps so: according to the site's Editor, she's now enlisted a lineup of Bloggers who frequently post and she makes sure the content changes daily. Apparently, it's a lean and mean operation; she writes: "as an army of one, I've prided myself on the slow but steady development of Vixen's online destination and the fact that we've managed to maintain the site despite our non-existent budget."

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July 17, 2007

Business 2.0 May Soon Die

Business 2.0 May Soon DieAccording to a story in today's New York Times, tech biz magazine Business 2.0 is on the verge of closure. Ad revenue is down sharply, and the blame is being laid on Time Inc., which consolidated its sales force recently, giving Business 2.0 short shrift.

This is all very sad. Unlike many print magazines, Business 2.0 took the Web seriously, and its site sports a number of frequently updated Blogs which do a good job of covering biz tech. Unfortunately, these little jewels are buried deep within an overcrowded CNN/Money/Business 2.0 site which, like the long-dead Pathfinder, does its best to hide the good stuff beyond a wall.

Business 2.0's Blogs could probably generate good ad revenue for Business 2.0 if they were better monetized (right now, the banner running appears to be untargeted RON (Run of Network) ads booked through, a Time-Warner subsidiary). Why not target text ads specifically to Business 2.0's content?

I used to work for Business 2.0's editor, Josh Quittner, and he's a very smart guy who understands that you can have a great idea, execute it well, and still get it all smushed up by clueless suits. Let's hope that he's able to spin off the online assets of Business 2.0 and get them away from Time Inc's corporate bureaucrats, who can't produce anything but grief.

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July 09, 2007

Jane Magazine Closing, Leaving Web Clutter Behind

RadarOnline reports that Jane Magazine, a 10-year old womans' magazine, is closing.

No big surprise here. Magazines are dropping left and right, killed off by the unstoppable juggernaut of the Web. Magazine execs deny this at every turn, but it's the most obvious trend in the world. I mean, the iPhone literally lets people surf the Web in the bathroom, the last bastion of the magazine. Yes, people read them on the subway and in doctors' offices but most people don't ride the subway and most don't spend much time in doctors' offices.

Jane's website (at never got much traction on the Web. With all the money that Conde Nast stuffed into it, its current traffic rank is 159,485, which makes it LESS popular than, which has a budget of exactly zero.

When I went to Jane's Blog to check out how its readers were taking the news, I got a script error that froze my browser (see screenshot above).

Truly pathetic work; I doubt many will miss this monster, which will close sometime in August, when the last print issue ships.

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