Dead at 25. SkyMall gave the world a quarter century of, in its own words, “cool stuff.”
The SkyMall bankruptcy is bad for SkyMall, and that one uncle of yours, but it’s also going to exact an economic hit from the cottage industry that’s been built up around making fun of SkyMall. [more]
Mocking SkyMall and its bizarre array of products was all too easy, as people in the business of getting laughs and pageviews knew all too well.
But few took it as far as BuzzFeed, a site that easily stands to lose the most in clickbait ad revenue with its demise. A selection of BuzzFeed SkyMall listicles:
And many more.
BuzzFeed is making sure to wring the last pageviews it can out of the catalog as well: “8 Essential Things You’ll Never Be Able To Buy From SkyMall Again” and “19 Reasons SkyMall Was Too Good For This World.” (It seems to slip past BuzzFeed and others that bankruptcy does not mean SkyMall has ceased selling products.)
While the most prolific, BuzzFeed was by no means the only site riding the SkyMall pageviews gravytrain. Funny or Die has a respectable number of SkyMall posts; as does Huffpost, including the three-part Skyfall James Bond spoof, “Skymall.” And as Gawker pointed out way back in 2009, even The Grey Lady herself had an ongoing obsession with pieces mentioning SkyMall.
There was probably a time in the late 1990s when Skymall was in a position to see the future and position itself to become the Amazon of today. That did not happen. Ironically enough, the same Internet that fed off SkyMall’s weirdness became its undoing.
While it still has a website, it was best-known for its dead tree-based limited inventory of 30,000 producers in its print catalog—which couldn’t compete with the endlessness of sites like Dude I Want That, The Gadgeteer, ThinkGeek and their peers.
And that’s to say nothing of the blackhole of oddity that is Amazon.com. As airlines added in-flight Internet access, SkyMall catalogs remained unopened in the seat-back pockets. Delta and SouthWest had already abandoned the magazine.
Proving the magazine still carries a lot of cultural cache, #skymall became a trending Twitter topic as soon as the news of its bankruptcy broke.
The jokes were largely worse than SkyMall deserved. Nonetheless, our favorite:
no…. it can’t be…. #RIPskymall