Time Inc.'s First Stand-Alone E-Commerce Site to Stop Standing Alone

Publisher Folding StyleFind.com into People, InStyle Sites

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When Time Inc.'s InStyle introduced StyleFind.com in November 2010, reports called it magazines' first stand-alone shopping site. Time Inc. is shutting down the site and will fold its e-commerce capabilities into InStyle and People's main sites early next year.

StyleFind was an effort to create a new e-commerce brand.
StyleFind was an effort to create a new e-commerce brand.

A spokeswoman confirmed the change.

StyleFind let consumers search for clothes, accessories and beauty products from 150 participating retailers such as Nordstrom, Dolce & Gabbana, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gap, Topshop and Kmart. It directed consumers to the retailers' sites when it was time to buy, taking a cut of any revenue.

But most of the traffic to StyleFind turned out to come from InStyle and People's big, established sites, not the "front door" of the stand-alone site.

StyleFind attracted 451,000 unique visitors in November, its second-highest mark since its introduction, according to ComScore. It got 722,000 unique visitors in December 2010 and 498,000 in September 2011.

InStyle, by comparison, got 1.4 million unique visitors in November, according to ComScore.

Magazines have continued to try to push into e-commerce as a way to diversify revenue beyond ad sales, sometimes setting up stand-alone sites under new brands. Last month, for example, Hearst Magazines' Esquire teamed up with J.C. Penney Co.to introduce an e-commerce site called Clad.

Esquire is a paid consultant on that arrangement, not an owner of the site, Esquire Editor-in-Chief David Granger said. "They made the investment in building the site and buying the merchandise," he said. "They're trying to create a new retail brand for men. We consult on the creation of the site and the editorial environment."

Esquire is also promoting the site in its print edition, on its website and through mailings to men in Hearst's database, receiving a flat fee plus a share of revenue.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's new deal with J.C. Penney also calls for a new e-commerce destination.

Time Inc. built StyleFind using technology from StyleFeeder, a company it bought in January 2010 for a reported eight figures.

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