What it is: a new website for women over 40. Content includes articles about health, fashion, love, marriage, and politics, as well as "intimate" celebrity interviews. And, naturally, a horoscope.
Who's behind it: five "media live-wire" femmes d'un certain age, according to an article in the Thursday Styles section of the New York Times--former book publisher Joni Evans, veteran gossip columnist Liz Smith, advertising executive Mary Wells, political columnist Peggy Noonan, and TV news reporter Lesley Stahl.
Media live-wires they may be, but cyber-savvy they are wo-wo-woefully not, according to reporter Stephanie Rosenbloom:
Web culture, from the technicalities of uploading content to the verbal nakedness that is blogging, was unfamiliar. Even acquiring a domain name was, as Ms. Smith put it at a gathering of some of the founders the other day, an uphill battle.
Ms. Stahl suggested adopting a name that incorporated the word “broad,” like broad-minded, but there were objections to that too.
“I went through a period where I really thought ‘After all we have done in our lives and accomplished — to call ourselves broads?’ ” said Ms. Wells, the founder of the advertising and marketing agency Wells Rich Greene.
Somewhere Ms. Evans has a long list of thumbs-down domain names (i.e., HerTube.com). “I remember how innocent we were,” she said. The name they settled on is a play on “Women on the Web.”
“We actually bought out a porn site to get this name,” Ms. Evans said. (Technically, they didn’t buy a porn business, just womenontheweb.com.) Now, “when anyone looks for that porn site, they’re directed to us,” said Ms. Evans, who became chief executive of the site after retiring last year as a senior vice president at the William Morris Agency’s literary department.
One is all for sisters doing it, you know, for themselves, but still. One despairs. One inquires:
Did it not occur to these ladies even once to seek the levelheaded counsel of someone with professional naming and domain-acquisition experience? Someone who could, say, mediate the discussion and provide a much-needed reality check?
Did anyone consider that the name might be confusing to read and say? (I thought it was pronounced woe-woe-wow until I saw the logo, which looks like Wow O Wow.)
Did anyone perform the simple experiment of saying the name aloud? (Consider the poor receptionist, saying "wowowow" 150 times a day.)
Did anyone ask, "How does 'Wowowow' advance our brand story? How does it express maturity, media savvy, a different voice? How on earth does it say 'Women on the Web'?"
Did anyone raise her hand and say, "Wowowow: this just sounds silly"?
About that porn-site redirect: did anyone ask herself and her colleagues, "Could this be a liability?"
And one more thing: a horoscope? Oh. Woe.
The site launches Saturday.