'GH,' Women.com roll holiday shopping guide

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Women.com and Good Housekeeping, in an effort to drive more women to shop online, will produce an online shopping guide for the 1999 holiday season.

The partnership is the first since Hearst Corp. merged Hearst HomeArts with Women.com to form Women.com Network.

The online shopping guide will face competition from a similar initiative recently announced by Meredith Corp. that bows in mid-October.

"We were thrilled about the merger for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was our advertisers asking us for cross-promotional opportunities with sex appeal. This has it," said Gina Garrubbo, exec VP-sales, Women. com Network.

According to market researcher IntelliQuest, 82% of Good Housekeeping's audience has a home PC and 70% of that group uses the Internet, said Publisher Pat Haegele. That's more than half of the magazine's audience.


"Our readers told us they were very interested in e-commerce, but that they also had a lot of concerns about which sites they can depend upon and which ones they can trust," Ms. Haegele said.

Conducting safe, secure transactions is also a key concern.

The online shopping guide, which will appear in issues of Good Housekeeping and on the Women.-com Web site, will not accept advertising from any site unless it passes the Good Housekeeping Institute's tests for reliability, said Ms. Haegele.


The ad program accompanying the guide will roll out in three phases. The first phase, appearing in October, will invite consumers to enter a sweepstakes to win a holiday shopping spree at participating retailers. Consumers can enter either through the Web site or during a visit to a retailer's store.

The second phase is the "Guide to Safely & Confidently Shop the Internet," a special pullout section in November's Good Housekeeping and a related minisite on Women.com.

The final phase, in December, is a guide for last-minute gifts to buy online. The guide will appear in copies of Good Housekeeping as well as on Women.com.

Advertisers such as Rich Burke, director of Spiegel Internet Media, say the appeal of this program is the halo effect the Good Housekeeping name brings.

"Being tied to such strong name as Good Housekeeping made me very interested in it," said Mr. Burke of the online arm of the catalog company.

"There's something magical about the name Good Housekeeping and for a lot of women thinking about shopping online, that might just get them past the hurdle of security issues," Mr. Burke said.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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