Saturday, March 8, 2008

Woman's Domain

I have to admit that I’ve had women on my mind this past week. It started on Tuesday when I read about’s decision to reposition itself as the search engine of choice for married women living in the southern and mid-western part of the United States. seeks makeover as women's site
Associated Press

While I am all for focus and targeting the needs of a specific audience, I find’s decision laughable. It’s too niche. Granted, the company’s roots are in helping people find answer to basic questions about recipes, hobbies, entertainment and health. (Remember the Ask Jeeves Butler icon?)

However, has effectively reduced the size of its addressable market to a fraction of its competitors. That can’t be good for the company’s valuation. And considering the $2.3B InteractiveCorp laid out to buy Ask in 2005 I suspect they have written this off as a failure.

Next up was the New York Times article on, a new site for women over 40. This company has some serious start power involved, including CBS News’ Lesley Stahl, and entertainers Candice Bergen, Whoopi Goldberg and Lilly Tomlin.

Will it find an audience? If the content is good it has a shot. Will it make money? That’s another question. There is tremendous competition for online advertising dollars.

Boldface in Cyberspace: It’s a Woman’s Domain
New York Times

And finally, I had a spirited conversation with my colleague Shany Seawright about the discrepancy in compensation among men and women in the public relations industry. According to a recent survey in PR Week magazine, men get paid a whole lot more for the same work.

It is unfortunate, yet something I don’t think about for a moment when hiring and compensating at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic). We are very lucky to have three incredibly talented women on our senior team. Each of their compensation plans are based on their performance against a mutually agreed upon set of objectives. Just like everyone else at the agency.

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