IVillage's deal to acquire a controlling interest in its Substance.com beauty-care joint venture with Unilever eliminates a requirement that Unilever help fund the venture and gives the package-goods marketer the option of selling its remaining 20% stake "under certain conditions," according to iVillage's annual report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week. The deal also caps iVillage's total commitment to funding Substance at $7 million and gives Unilever an option to buy back 50% of the venture. IVillage reported a loss of $400,000 on the venture through December. Unilever also agreed to increase its multiyear advertising commitment to iVillage by $2.5 million to $14.5 million, according to the report.
Ask Jeeves to launch search-based ad network
Online search service Ask Jeeves is today launching an ad network that bases its model on keyword searches, a popular targeting method among online advertisers. The "DirectHit" network calls for participating sites to split revenue with Ask Jeeves for advertising that will be sold by Ask Jeeves sales reps, but appear on participants' sites. Some 30 online publishers are joining the network at launch, including MSN.com, teen site Snowball.com and Britannica.com. Ask Jeeves will sell a number of different advertising models targeted to the keyword searches, including ad units the company terms "tower ads"and superstitials. The search service itself, which the Emeryville, Calif.-based company syndicates to other sites, will be branded on some participating sites and not on others. "Some, like snowball, insisted that we have our brand there," said Joshua Stylman, VP-syndication and partnerships at Ask Jeeves.
Unilever to unveil results of Web-shoppers study
The Unilever Brand Center will unveil the results of a new study, the Unilever E-Shopping Report, today. It shows the growing proclivity that online users have for shopping online. The study, conducted for the package-goods giant by Cyber Dialogue, found that those who often shop on the Internet went online a total of 63 times in the last year to either browse or purchase. It also demonstrated the prevalence of what Unilever called " nocturnal shopping." Forty-six percent of women and 47% of men said they shop online at night. However, many of those polled-particularly men-also admitted to shopping online from the office. Cyber Dialogue conducted the survey among 1,494 online users classified as "highly active." The breakout by sex was 994 women and 500 men.