CondeNet 'flips' for Web-exclusive social network

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Earlier this month Condé Nast's CondéNet division debuted Flip.com, a social network for teen girls that marks the media giant's first foray into a Web-only brand that is not directly tied to a print magazine.

Much like other popular social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, users on Flip.com can create personality profiles and make friends through viral communication. The unique aspect on Flip is a customizable multimedia scrapbook-like journal where members can create profile personalities.

"Flip is MySpace meets Project Runway meets Photoshop, where girls can make online portfolios," said Dee Salomon, senior vice president of sales and marketing at CondeNet.

Like other social networks, girls can upload photos, songs and videos, as well as choose from a large collection of stickers, wallpaper, animations and music provided on the site. Flip members can draw, write, add a sound track, rotate and size elements, add pages and choose page transitions to create these online profiles. Girls can use these profiles to network with others by sharing their own pages, joining clubs and adding friends.

The Web site was tested among a group of Teen Vogue "It" girls and transmitted virally through this specific demographic of fashion-forward teen girls. During its first couple of days, 12,000 users registered and 100 flipbooks were posted.

"The site is for teen girls," Ms. Salomon said. "We have to be cautious in how we market because you can't speak too forcefully to teenage girls or they'll be turned off."

The site is free to users but includes advertising promotions. There is no advertising content within or around Flipbooks themselves. But each sponsor is offering a range of assets related to their brands such as graphics, logos and photography in digital asset library Flip Media to engage girls to use their products while building books.

Independent music retailer eMusic is providing more than 100 free tracks that can be used by Flip members as sound tracks to their Flipbooks.

Other advertisers currently partnering with Flip include Clean and Clear, Nike, Nordstrom, PacSun and Vera Wang Princess. Advertisers will sponsor special featured contests in addition to CondéNet's own contests.

With the shift in traffic from print to online, it remains to be seen if

Condé Nast's future will be in the virtual world.

"There's always going to be a place for good, well written editorial," Ms. Salomon said. "Flipbook users are inspired by fashion magazines, as the top down has always influenced the bottom. But it will be interesting to see how the bottom up influences the top."

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