Why is it difficult for people to understand what a magazine does online is not necessarily a magazine?

Today, Jacqueline Leo of The Huffington Post writes about the new IDG experiment with predictive markets that utilizes the brand of a magazine that was shuttered five years ago, The Industry Standard.

Here’s some of what she wrote:

“Finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for print magazines. A new strategy has emerged thanks to The Industry Standard, the high priest of the Internet that folded after that bubble burst. Now, the magazine is back on line, but this time people are betting on it to win–literally.”

Huh? I think I’ve followed this news fairly closely and no where have I seen any mention of IDG bringing back any type of Industry Standard magazine, either literally or metaphorically.

I really don’t understand why it’s difficult for media critics (much, less, tech-bloggers and even magazine people, themselves) to understand the concept of “brand extension.” For decades, especially in the business-to-businesss media field, but really across the board, media companies that own long-established magazine properties have used the brands of those magazines to launch (or license) products that are not magazines. Media critics understand this concept when the product is not online. For example, when a magazine licenses its brand for men’s hair dye, you’d never hear a media critic describe it as “a magazine on a head.” I don’t think media critics find it difficult to understand that, say, Macworld Expo, is not “a magazine in a conference center” despite it having the same name as a magazine published by the same parent company.

So why is it difficult for a media critic to understand that when a media company uses a brand of a magazine shuttered five years ago for a product that is clearly not a magazine or even uses magazine metaphors, that it’s NOT “a Magazine”?

I could understand it if the online property called itself a magazine, say, the way 60-Minutes calls itself a magazine when it’s clearly a TV show. But a predictive market is a predictive market. It’s not an online magazine and no where on the site does it refer to itself in that way.

If a media company wants to use the magazine as a metaphor to explain what it’s doing online, that’s fine — I guess it can be called “a magazine.” But if you’re a media critic and you’re trying to develop a clever column, here’s some advice: When you call a predictive market a magazine you are mixing metaphors.