AKQA Vet Aims for iVillage 2.0

NEW YORK When Kate Everett-Thorp left digital shop AKQA in January, she wanted to return to her roots in publishing after serving as the agency’s president and media chief.

After a respite at venture firm WaldenVC, Everett-Thorp hooked up with another AKQA vet, Suha Araj, and two other founders to build a high-quality Web site for women to share their stories with each other.

The result is DivineCaroline.com, a user-generated content site for women age 25-54 that launches in January. WaldenVC and 3i have poured $6 million into Real Girls Media, the parent company Everett-Thorp set up for DivineCaroline.com and companion sites for girls and young adults.

RGM is taking a Web 2.0 tack in building a community of women than iVillage, which was launched in 1995 with a similar mission and is now owned by NBC. Where iVillage tried to orient the community around professional content, DivineCaroline.com will rely on user-contributed content to build the community.

“Women would rather hands down hear from another woman than an authoritative voice,” Everett-Thorp said.

The site will also include professionally produced content, but it will be given equal footing with user material, she said.

DivineCaroline.com will have easy-to-use publishing templates, allowing women to contribute an article about a romantic getaway in Sonoma or a recipe of their signature apple pie. Authors can choose from a cache of professional stock photos to accompany their articles, which will be filed into a half-dozen content areas.

Everett-Thorp said several advertisers have signed on to sponsor the site, although she declined to name any.

Prior to joining AKQA in July 2004, Everett-Thorp was at Carat Interactive, which bought Lot21, the digital agency she founded in 2002.