Paypal Mafia

YouTube Founders Launching Zeen, a DIY Online Magazine Builder, Next Week

The PayPal mafia is at it again.
picture 13 YouTube Founders Launching Zeen, a DIY Online Magazine Builder, Next Week

Zeen’s splash page. (Photo: Zeen)

Having already succeeded in building two of the most spectacularly successful Internet companies of the modern age–PayPal and YouTube–what on earth do you do next? We’d be inclined to buy an island and never touch a computer again, but that’s not the plan for Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, who just announced that their digital magazine building platform, Zeen, will roll out next week.

Zeen is a part of AVOS, an Internet company helmed by the duo that acquired bookmarking tool De.licious last year. Precious little info is known about the mysterious Zeen. “Discover and create beautiful magazines,” reads the sparse splash page.

Perhaps the biggest hints about Zeen’s ethos come from its Facebook page, where avid fans have been posting about beta testing and wanting more information since April.

“Throw us a bone! :),” wrote one user a few weeks ago. Judging from other user comments, it seems as if Zeen has been beta testing with a few choice users, including one named Anna Looper who is planning on launching an heirloom flea market.

“I got my Zeen thank you note and tshirt today. The thank you note is signed by the cool Zeen team. They will be ultra famous soon so I’m keeping the letter in a protected spot,” she wrote. “Happy to be in the beta testing for 10 garden bloggers chosen for the sample magazines. I have two sites with them. Flowergardengirl and the other Flea Market Gardens where I’ll be showcasing heirloom and vintage style. Not going to be anything ya’ll have ever seen or dreamed up.”

Ms. Looper seems to see Zeen as an alternative to blogging, which hints at the platform’s offerings–perhaps a lightweight, easily-editable text and design editor, like a user-controlled Flipboard?–but still doesn’t tell us much.

What we do know is that Zeen’s founders have been apparently seduced by the dream of old media. Who can blame them? Magazines are so much prettier and glossier than blogs.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com