Today the New York Times runs a truly epic story about the state of digital shelter magazines. (So epic, in fact, that it contains roughly 2,700 words over four pages online—countless column inches, no doubt, in the print edition.) As we've said before, Lonny is the grand doyenne of this crowd—its 2009 hatch to life has since inspired a notable stable of copycats: Rue, High Gloss, and Matchbook, among them. Fascinating things are learned about the kind of photoshoots these pubs organize, their budget, and, of course, the amount of traffic each site receives. (The key to the
fountain of youth an absurd number of pageviews is being what's essentially a 347-page flipbook, just like Trad Home.) Interviewing these girls—as congenial as a luncheon on Sex and the City, right? Let's just say that it's a good thing the new-to-town (and decidedly un-girly) online design magazine Entra is sitting this one out. Here now, the top 10 jabs, from both the reporter and from the interviewees:
10: On the lack of an ad/edit page ratio: And the freedom from printing costs can result in excess, as when Lonny devoted 38 pages to a home in Chiswick, England.
9: On making friends with Lonny: “We didn’t have a pre-existing relationship with them and haven’t been able to develop one,” [Rue editor in chief] Ms. Gentilello said.
8: On recycling content: Even the articles can feel oddly familiar: after Lonny featured the Manhattan decorator Vicente Wolf, he turned up in Rue’s first issue last fall.
7: On editorial judgment: And aside from the 22 pages that Rue devoted to him [Wolf], there was the added bonus of being referred to as a "design god" whose wrinkles “only increase his masculine beauty.”
6: On digital media: As Crystal Gentilello, the 28-year-old co-founder and editor of Rue, put it, “Everyone and their mother has a blog.”
5: On writing skills: High Gloss seems willing to introduce almost anyone as a “style maven,” and Matchbook’s recent “Portrait of a Lady” article on Diana, Princess of Wales, reads like a Wikipedia entry.
4: On gaining experience in the industry: “I think she [Adams] still has to learn a lot,” Ms. Simpson [her former boss at Domino] said. “She went from an assistant to running her own magazine. She skipped a lot of steps along the way.”
3: On editorial judgment, again: While the editors of Rue might run an article called “Darko Weirdo Dinner Party,” as they did in their March/April issue, Ms. Adams’s taste is more traditional, and old-line society decorators like Albert Hadley have appeared in the magazine.
2: On the market being flooded: Ms. Adams rarely mentions her competitors, and when she does it’s with barely contained annoyance. “All of our competition is using it right now, and no one knew it existed before,” she said of Issuu. “It’s sort of like, ‘Oh, really, guys?’ ”
1: On what sets Lonny apart: “A lot of our competitors seem interested in fame,” Ms. Adams said. “We’re interested in decorating.”
· The Thriving (Online) Shelter Magazine Industry [NYT]
· The Online-Only "Print" Pub Catfight: Rue Vs. Lonny [Curbed National]
· Please Welcome the World's First Non-Girly Digital Design Pub [Curbed National]