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Subject: UKNM: Women internet users
From: Ray Taylor
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 17:10:01 +0000 (GMT)

From: Carol Dukes <CDukesatcarltononline [dot] com>
>So women are "ordinary" are they Ray? ;-)

Not the ones I know. But the fact that the proportion of women using the
Internet is approaching 50% suggests that the typical internet user is
becoming more ordinary (as opposed to the technically-aware minority).

>I'm intrigued to know what you think a site aimed at women would offer.
>Knitting patterns? Gynaecology.com?

What's wrong with a site dedicated to knitting patterns? Not everyone's cup
of tea but a very popular (minority) activity mostly among women, just like
football is a popular minority interest among men. Personally, I hate
football and reject the currently popular notion that there is something
essentially masculine about interest in the game. But if I wanted to run an
advertising campaign aimed at men (my interest is as an online media buyer)
I might well include football related sites, depending on the kind of men I
was looking for.

Knittingpattern.com might be appropriate for advertising products aimed at
women who indulge in traditional craft skills. But then again, it wouldn't
matter whether the visitors were men or women, they would have a common
interest in the subject.

And Obgyn/health information sites are very popular in the US.

But if you wanted to reach only women for an advertising campaign you would
need to advertise on sites aimed at women and/or other sites that could
target by sex - ft.com, for instance, can target by sex because they
register users.

There is no reason why you could not include ft.com in a campaign to launch,
say, a new brand of tampons (assuming their editorial policy did not forbid
it) but without targeting by sex you would be wasting an awful lot of
impressions - which are by no means cheap with ft.com - because even in this
enlightened age, few male ft.com users buy tampons for their wives,
girlfriends, mothers, etc. (okay I'm guessing here, they do not ask this
question when you register). And I can think of other reasons for not using

I have been asked to target online women more than once and the fact that it
is difficult to do (outside of the US) suggests that the content business in
the UK is still under the impression that whatever else women do that men
do, they do not use the internet much. Just like the newspaper business

believed that women didn't read newspapers until the Daily Mail started
including content aimed at women some time earlier this century.

>I find that there are already quite a lot of sites offering content
>interesting to women (as well as men.) Women read newspapers, women have
>bank accounts, women buy cars, women go to the cinema

Sure, but how many of these sites can target ads by sex? And even women who
buy cars, go to the cinema and read newspapers also read women's magazines -
which suggests that the idea of content aimed at women is not such a strange
thing to expect.

>(http://www.popcorn.co.uk) and women enjoy gameshows

Excellent sites, and already on my list to look at (they have only just

>Of course there is still much room for improvement in what the Internet in
>its totality offers non-technical consumers, but I'm not convinced that this
>is any more of a problem for women than for men.

The problem of access is fast resolving itself, thanks to Tesco.Net and
Freeserve, among others. It has been the same problem for women as for men,
but the earliest adopters were prodominately male, hence the prejudice
(still) that internet users are young, male, early-adopters.

The lack of women's interest content is not a problem for women who have no
interest in women's interest subjects, any more than I would be bothered if
there were not any football sites.

But it does present a problem to anyone wanting to advertise to a female
audience. Anyone about to launch a content site aimed at women and needing
sponsorship, please contact me off list.

And if I don't get any offers, I will launch one myself. Incentive in

Ray Taylor
0181 639 0015

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