eBay vaporzine? The web site “Auction Bytes” is reporting that eBay may be launching a magazine in the fall. The article reports that Readers Digest will likely be the publishing partner. If this sounds like old news, it’s because the concept has been tried before and failed. That was then, however, and now is now. It’s interesting to me that Readers Digest would be involved. It makes sense for the magazine to be published by the company’s recently acquired subsidiary, Reiman, as they are experts in user-generated content; a direct parallel to the business model of eBay. The earlier eBay Magazine’s failure had a lot to do with its misguided editorial focus: “collectibles.” The magazine did not find an advertiser base and did not move quickly enough to reflect the expanding (exploding) ways which eBay users found to use the service. The magazine was still running cover stories on “how to sell beanie babies” while eBay traders had moved onto selling fighter jets.
In my opinion, there is room for multiple eBay titlles. Indeed the vast breadth of ways eBay buyers and sellers utilize the platform may be too vast and diverse to be “positioned” in the way a magazine title needs to be to communicate to readers and advertisers.
However, in my self-appointed role as Mr. Vaporzine, I’ll give eBay Magazine more than 50% chance of being launched and making it through a year. (If it is a custom publication that is owned by eBay and is being contracted to RD, I’ll give it a 100% chance.) However, I would suggest the backers go onto eBay and purchase several back copies of Yahoo! Internet Life and hang the copies on their office walls to remind them how even a popular brand and a great editorial product can’t help you if you want to be everything to everybody.