Special Report: ‘Cosmo’ Fake Calls

NEW YORK Cosmo Fake Calls—a call-back service that, for 99 cents, lets women escape from a bad date—has to be one of the cleverest brand extensions of the year. It’s just one feature available via a new mobile site from Hearst’s iconic guide for single ladies—others include the Dude Decoder (“the ultimate body-language guide to find out what he’s really thinking”). Print spinoffs include CosmoGirl; Sirius’ Cosmo Radio serves up relationship and fitness tips; book titles include Cosmo Kama Sutra. International editions number more than 100, from Indonesia to Lithuania. Says one buyer, “They’re very careful about what they slap their name on—and they’re making some smart moves.”