Four years after Condé Nast’s beloved shelter mag Domino folded, the dearly departed brand is back in business—albeit in a very different form. Today, Condé officially announced the creation of Domino Media Group, a “wholly independent entity” that will produce a Domino website and quarterly print magazine.
Returning to steer the ship are Beth Brenner, Domino’s original publisher (and, more recently, publisher of Meredith’s Traditional Home). She is now its CRO. Serving as editor in chief is Michelle Adams, who was an assistant editor at the magazine until it folded in 2009; she went on to launch Lonny, a digital shelter magazine that was sold to Zimbio last year.
The main focus of “Domino 3.0” (the magazine’s second iteration came when Condé launched a series of newsstand-only issues using repurposed content from the original last year, which Domino fanatics were quick to dismiss) is its e-commerce component. About 80 percent of the items shown in the editorial photos on Domino.com will be shoppable within the site, thanks to partnerships with more than 200 manufacturers, according to a New York Times profile of the new media company. Eventually, Domino also plans to roll out licensed products.
The quarterly magazine, which retails for $12 on newsstands, will be secondary to the website. In fact, Brenner reportedly called it “merely a branding tool.” The Times review of the first issue describes it as “a bit of a letdown, ever so slightly ersatz, or maybe just a bit dated”—not exactly on par with the beloved original.
Also notable is the fact that the Condé Nast name does not appear on the magazine’s masthead. The company is a “significant minority shareholder” in the new Domino, and according to its announcement, “will be providing a full range of support for this content-to-commerce model, including marketing and distribution services.” Domino is also running out of a “scruffy” office on West 38th street instead of Condé’s 4 Times Square headquarters; in an interview with the Times, Domino Media Group co-founder Cliff Sirlin described the publisher as “like a steamship, hard to turn and not so great for incubating a start-up.”
Domino.com is set to go live today, and the print quarterly (the first issue is themed around holiday decorating) hits newsstands on Tuesday.