Meredith guide 'Shop Online' ranks top sites

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The folks at Meredith Corp.'s magazine division are making an online list and checking it twice for this year's holiday shopping season.

Shop Online, an 80-page holiday Internet buying guide, makes its debut in mid-October as a supplement to 10 Meredith titles, including Better Homes & Gardens and Ladies Home Journal. Editors working on the guide will choose 250 recommended Web sites, as well as offer advice about the best ways to comparison shop and conduct safe transactions.


"The idea came from so many of our editors telling us more and more subscribers were interested in the Internet and specifically in shopping and that they wanted suggestions," said Joseph Lagani, publishing director of the project.

Just 7% of U.S. households purchased something online in the fourth quarter of 1997, Meredith research found. By the fourth quarter of '98, the percentage rose to 10%. For this year's holiday season, the industry expects 30% of U.S. households to shop online. Meredith is hoping to reach one-third of that 30% with this effort, Mr. Lagani said.

With a planned distribution of 4.3 million issues, Shop Online will target those Meredith subscribers with home computer and Internet access who in surveys said they already are shopping or plan to shop online in the near future.

Meredith used its subscriber database and geographic/demographic segmenting to determine markets with a high penetration of PC users to target the guide.

A Web site will appear in mid-October when the guide is mailed and stay up until January 15, 2000. Mr. Lagani said the URL was still being decided.

The online version of Shop Online will link consumers to all 250 recommended sites.

Copyright June 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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