With a new owner, there is, of course, a limit to how much paid advertising readers will allow to be mixed in with the editorial content—and how wide DailyCandy can reach without either lowering its bar or raising it into luxury porn. The core demographic seems antsy as it is: “No longer was I getting information on cool little shops and indie bakeries. I was being told about Über-extravagant vacations that I could never afford,” complains an ex-subscriber on Yelp.com, an informal business-review site. “This ‘friend’ of mine is slowly making her way out of my social circle,” notes another. “I wonder if they think I’m in their demographic,” worries a reviewer at the end of an otherwise glowing write-up. Such is the flip side to DailyCandy’s just-for-you interface: People take things personally.
After all, this is a company that ran a survey once, asking, among other things, where readers pick up cosmetics (CVS, Macy’s, Sephora)—and Gawker.com immediately reported that choosing the drugstore option would blacklist you from DailyCandy’s e-mail server; even if it wasn’t true, it felt possible. If an old-media conglomerate is our swooning gal’s new mom, DailyCandy’s editorial focus may have to accommodate the CVS crowd. Its ultimate downfall would be every stylish New York girl’s nightmare: a slow descent into the strip mall.