IQ Interactive Special Report: Bullet Points – Shots from around the Web

TOOT SWEET
Staking a claim for a piece of the Web, pop princess Britney Spears has signed on to help launch New York-based Sweet16.com, a startup targeting Gen Y’s female half.
With her few minutes to spare between touring, performing, recording and interviewing, Spears, as the company’s third-largest shareholder, has agreed to help shape Sweet16.com’s content, which will be used to fill not only a new Web site, but also a recently launched Sweet16.com magazine, a radio and television show and special events.
Billing itself as “the freshest place to party on the Web,” Sweet16.com is betting that Britney and her teen-celeb friends will attract hits. Already, says Shelly Palmer, a composer and producer who cofounded the site with J. Patrick Kenny, a former executive with The Seagram Beverage Co.’s carbonated soft drink division, the site has generated as many as 1 million page views in six days.
“Sweet 16 is a rite of passage,” Palmer says. “When you hear Sweet 16, you think of Sweet 16 parties.”
What you won’t be thinking about, however, at least on Sweet16.com, is sex-no matter how many times Britney flashes her midriff.
“Being sexy and having sex are two completely different things,” says Palmer, who adds that they’re not trying to be Disney.”
“Here’s the distinction,” explains Kenny. “When my wife comes to the site … she’s going to scratch her head and say, ‘OK, I don’t get it, but have fun.’ That’s fine. What she’s not going to say is, ‘When your father comes home the computer is coming out of the room.’ That’s the line we’re walking.”
Sweet16.com will discuss what happens to a girl’s body and what may be happening with her relationships. Shelly says that the site won’t “give you a primer on how to tattoo your body. And I’m not going to teach you how to roll a joint.”-Jennifer Owens
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BARBIE’S DREAM SITE
Some dot-com execs may tend to pubescence, but the ones at Barbie.com have them all beat: The average age of its board of directors last year was nine. Mattel chose the girls, 26 of them, from New Jersey, Los Angeles and San Francisco to be volunteer design consultants for the new Barbie.com site, relaunched July 25 at the New York Flashforward 2000 convention. The venue is no accident: Barbie.com reflects a trend toward building entire sites using Flash, made possible by the advent of version 4 of Macromedia’s wildly popular authoring tool and player.
Designed by Chicago-based marchFIRST, the site lays on more hot pink and pastel than the city of Miami and, with help from Macromedia’s Shockwave Director Studio, has everything interactive a girl could want.-Karl Greenberg
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POST-COLLEGE COPING
With a cockeyed cap, huge black gown, diploma in hand and silly grin, many college graduates envision a ready-made, wonderful life waiting for them outside the confines of their university walls. A diploma, however, doesn’t necessarily signify a smooth ride into the real world. After shedding the trappings of college life, students are hit with a cruel dose of reality: student loans to pay, sky-high utility bills, grueling job hunts, 9 a.m. meetings and no more all-night beer fests.
EGrad2000.com hopes to make the transition a bit easier. The Boston-based “life-stage” marketing company, speaking to the needs and concerns of the more than 2.5 million students that graduate from American colleges each year, offers advice, support and student perspectives on topics ranging from how to cope with parents on graduation day to landing first jobs and compiling budgets.
“We want to make the transition from school to the real world as successful as possible,” says Thorp Foster, vp of membership marketing at eGrad2000. “The transition doesn’t stop at graduation-that’s only the beginning.”
Working with e-mail marketer e-Dialog, eGrad2000 attracted over 100,000 students from more than 700 colleges and universities during its beta launch last spring. Beyond member acquisition efforts, Lexington, Mass.-based e-Dialog developed and delivered a series of mailings chock full of relevant information and promotional offers. This school year, e-Dialog plans to help grads-to-be count down to graduation by sending out even more personalized content via e-mail. “This is just the first step and we look forward to building on this success with eGrad2000 in the future,” says John Rizzi, president and CEO of eDialog. – Ann M. Mack
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TAMPON TANGO
When it comes to fun, what girl hasn’t wished for her own line of super-hero, feminine hygiene action figures to play with?
Yes, it’s Super Tampon and her trusty sidekicks Wonder Liner and Captain Maxi, brought to you by the good folks at Procter & Gamble, which owns such well-known feminine hygiene brands as Always, Tampax and Alldays.
P&G’s newest site, BeingGirl.com-designed for females ages 9-17 and featuring the Super Fems and a team of dancing tampons-is dedicated to making menstruation fun, according to the Cincinnati-based packaged goods company in a release touting the site. P&G developed BeingGirl.com with answerthink, a Miami-based eBusiness consulting firm, and an advisory board of teen girls.
“The site offers more than 500 articles on serious topics the teens have said they would like to learn more about, like PMS, their first gynecology exam, sex and dating and drugs,” the release stated. “Just as important, they said they would also like to have fun online. To address that, Ms. Period Face and screen savers like the Super Fems and dancing tampons, as well as having e-mail greetings available, provide lighthearted entertainment.”
Except on those heavy days, of course. – Jennifer Owens
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MUSIC MARKER
The last time radio DJs religiously named the songs they spun was back when there were vinyl discs to spin. Now with computerized playlists, there are fewer mentions and more coffee breaks for DJs. And that’s where San Francisco-based eMarker comes in.
The Sony Electronics subsidiary, featuring a Web site and hand-held appliance by the same name, exploits regimented playlists on commercial radio to help listeners fetch song titles. “It’s basically a stopwatch,” says designer and eMarker CEO Woody Deguchi of the keyring-sized device shaped like a kazoo. “When you hear a song you like, click the eMarker. Later, plug it into the USB port on your computer.” The eMarker will do some temporal math to figure out what time it was clicked, and tell you what was playing on radio stations in your area at that moment. If you aren’t sure of the station, you can listen to clips to see what song was playing.
The site makes money through the next logical step: It links buyers to sellers, leading users to music retailer Web sites. The site uses airplay data collected through the Advanced Detection Service of Broadcast Data Systems (BDS) a division of the Entertainment Information Group. BDS technology monitors in real time more than 1,000 radio stations nationwide, covering more than 80 percent of the U.S. listener base for current music, according to Deguchi.-Karl Greenberg
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DISNEY’S SAFE SURF
“If it swells, ride it,” is a sophomoric quip that can conjure up visions of surfing-or sex. On the Internet, such ambiguity can lead children to pornographic sites or worse.
On Wednesday, Disney Online, a business unit of Burbank, Calif.-based Go.com, will launch SurfSwellIsland.com, an “interactive life preserver” designed to provide children and families with an entertaining way to learn about “smart surfing” and Internet safety.
Topics include “Netiquette,” and sections focusing on computer viruses and Internet privacy. Users will be able to interact with games, quizzes and printables, according to Ken Goldstein, executive vp and managing director of Disney Online.
An independent study of 4,000 parents commissioned by Disney.com found that more than 50 percent of the respondents were concerned about the risks children face when surfing the Web.
Said Goldstein: “Our goal … was to provide this crucial resource in an engaging online environment where learning happens naturally and with a healthy dose of fun.” -Erik Gruenwedel
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RECYCLED DESIGNS
TurboSquid.com is not the Amazon of arthropods. The New Orleans-based digital assets company is more like a legitimate Napster for 3-D digital imagery-wire-frame, textured assets that can be viewed from all perspectives-and other digital assets. The company, planning a large-scale beta preview beginning next week and a full-scale launch the second week of September, plans to make money by tapping into the vast virtual graveyard of images residing on digital illustrators’ storage drives and selling them to users who may need 3-D or 2-D images of, say, squids.
“There are roughly 500,000 graphic artists out there, each one having between 50 and 70 images sitting on their hard drives, taking up space,” says TurboSquid.com CEO David Avgikos. “TurboSquid allows them to upload images to our servers and make money by offering them to others.” He notes that the company will monetize sales by selling images to users and splitting the revenue with the illustrators who created them. The service requires a free-to-user plug-in available at www.turbosquid.com.
“The potential for freelancers to repurpose their digital assets and make money is incredible,” Avgikos claims. He adds that the company has been in discussions with several illustration application makers, such as Adobe, to bundle a TurboSquid hyperlink with new releases.
-Karl Greenberg
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BY THE NUMBERS
Water may be a staff of life, but beer and wine have their own Web sites, too. The Web has been compared to the Wild West, a vast sea and of course, a superhighway of sorts-just the sort of places that can make one pretty thirsty. This month, IQ takes a good, long drink at some of the Web’s best spots for liquid refreshment.-Jennifer Owens

Beer.com
* The site’s “beercam” allows you not only to visit bars around the world, but lets you buy that cutie sitting in a specially designated seat a beer. You can also chat for 15 minutes if he’s willing.
* Features “Spin the Bottle” dating service, although “you’ve got to be of legal drinking age to participate,” of course.
Beer News offers up press releases on beer tasting competitions, mergers and acquisitions among brewers and new products.
* Seems to have a fascination with Catherine Zeta-Jones, but also gives tips on how “You Too Can Score Like Ugly Famous Guys!”

Wine.com
* You don’t have to be a Frasier-esque oenophile to surf the site; its tone is both chatty and informative.
You can’t have wine without cheese, so of course the site sells ergonomically designed cheese planes.
* Inventory seems tremendous, with a search engine using category, price and origin parameters available to help even novices navigate the site.
* The most expensive wine available? A 1981 Chateau Petrus Pomerol (magnum) from Bordeaux, France.
“No other wine in Bordeaux captures as much reverence- or has demand exceeding supply-as does Chateau Petrus. The secret here is the well-drained soil and an almost obsessive attention to detail.”

Water.com
* Offers no office gossip, just “premium” water coolers. “Color choices don’t get any cooler than this.” Heh, heh.
* Includes e-commerce area where users can buy bottled spring water in both one-gallon and five-gallon jugs.
* Cautions that too much soda pop can lead to obese children. “Before you know it, the plump little cheeks you used to love to pinch are gracing the face of a sadly obese child.”
* Makes sure to note that water makes up 70 percent of the body, and warns of the “necessity of hydration.”