By AdExchanger

The Sell Sider is a column written by the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Greg Mason, CEO at Purch.

The New York Times made its own headlines when it recently acquired Wirecutter, the five-year-old online product review site, for an estimated $30 million.

For one of the world’s biggest and most respected publishers, the acquisition of a niche site like Wirecutter is a low-risk and small-scale investment and builds on its roots in service journalism, as reflected in its news and lifestyle coverage. The New York Times sees itself as an essential service and Wirecutter is an extension of its commitment to servicing users.

But the real reason for the acquisition pertains to publishers’ concerns about the future of the traditional advertising market. Wirecutter is a way to combat this. It’s a very utilitarian site, and with so many lifestyle sites and general content, these niche plays that go beyond entertainment have tangible value, particularly to augment a generalist media entity.

The New York Times realizes the value of serving a lower-funnel audience with purchase intent and the money to be made off this model. The Times’ readers are not coming to the site with a purchase in mind, but that’s their intention when they visit Wirecutter. The acquisition is a way for the publisher to get a slice of this ecommerce spend – on content where it makes sense.

The Times and other publishers aren’t just suffering from the decline of print ad dollars. They simply aren’t seeing the growth they expected or need from digital ads. Facebook and Google are taking 70 cents on every new digital ad dollar and the fight for the remaining 30 cents is hypercompetitive.

Clearly, the Times wants to diversify its monetization and revenue lines. Acquisition is the quickest way to do so, but The New York Times will now have to think about strategically linking the systems or whether to keep Wirecutter as a standalone brand.

It’s not just the Times that is looking to diversify. More publishers are wading into ecommerce and affiliate waters because it’s a lucrative business when done right. I would advise them to do so cautiously.

Publishers can’t add affiliate links and buy buttons to their pages and expect new revenue automatically. Wirecutter serves a very unique purpose and attracts a very specific audience that is looking for specific content. For publishers that have built a following based on general news or entertainment, the same strategies do not apply. Like the Times, it’s important to consider the users’ standpoint, thinking first of their needs and how publishers can service them before weaving in affiliate links and buy buttons in a contextual way.

This sort of monetization belongs on low-funnel content that attracts consumers making buying decisions, rather than general news pages where buy buttons and affiliate links would appear out of context and feel more like an ad than a native, helpful tool.

Before trying to marry content and commerce, publishers must first ensure the ecommerce strategy extends directly from their core content strategy. Publishers must ask themselves where the natural bridges for commerce exist and what products and services actually extend their brand mission overall. They must also have a deep enough understanding of the core demographic profile or interests of their audience to truly provide a valuable service.

Then there’s the consideration of integrity. With all forms of advertising, there must be a separation of church and state with editorial on one side and advertising on another. With affiliate marketing, publishers must also be transparent about how they’re making money so users understand this model. Consumer expectations are evolving and they commonly see affiliate links all over the internet. The key to maintaining trust and integrity is clear communication and sitewide rules for placement and usage of affiliate links.

Read the full article here: https://adexchanger.com/the-sell-sider/publishers-beware-wading-ecommerce-waters/

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By Max Willens

On Monday, The New York Times announced it had purchased The Wirecutter and its sister site, The Sweethome, for just over $30 million. The deal gives the Gray Lady a new source of income and its first taste of affiliate marketing, a revenue stream publishers have been exploring to supplement display ad revenue.

The Times is hardly the first publisher to go there. Publishers have for years been trying to get credit for the purchases they inspire on their pages and websites. Some experiments are now scuttled, like New York magazine’s Shop-A-Matic and ShopVogue.tv, but new ones are popping up all the time: In the past two months, Style.com relaunched as a commerce hub, and New York unveiled The Strategist, a web page offering product recommendations.

But these days, publishers aren’t trying e-commerce out as an experiment. Several publishers’ operations have gotten more sophisticated. Here are three ways publishers are making e-commerce into a real business.

Rewarding loyalty
Two years ago, Purch, a publisher of B2B and B2C brands that earns more than half of its revenue from e-commerce and lead generation, decided that it was overly reliant on search traffic, and that it needed to find a way to get more people to come back to its owned and operated sites.

Purch launched Perks, a loyalty site similar to another site it acquired, Active Junkie. Perks customizes its look and feel based on the site its visitors arrive from and has a loyalty program that offers cash to shoppers as a reward for buying there.

While Perks has only been live for a month, it’s already attracting the same number of daily users that Active Junkie did. “I’d much rather make $3 off you three times than $5 off you once,” said Phil Barrett, Purch’s senior vp and gm of shopper services. “Give away and build trust, and you will be rewarded.”

Read the full article here: http://digiday.com/publishers/three-ways-publishers-bringing-sophistication-e-commerce/

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Industry’s Largest Tech Publisher Enters $600B Outdoor Enthusiast Market; Prepares to Extend Loyalty Platform Across Leading Tech/Science Brand Portfolio

NEW YORK, NY (September 18, 2015) – Purch, a digital content and commerce company which reaches 100M consumers monthly, today announced that it has acquired Active Junky, the loyalty platform and online shopping community that rewards and incentivizes users for their passion for gear and the outdoors.  With the acquisition, Purch gains a rapidly growing shopping community, as well as an innovative customer rewards and loyalty platform serving the Outdoor Enthusiast market.

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“As we’ve continued to analyze and better understand how consumers seek information related to product selection, it’s clear they want services which help them identify the best value in addition to identifying the best product for their needs,” said Greg Mason, CEO, Purch.  “The cornerstone of Active Junky’s model is cashback, but they also identify Deals, Special Offers, Coupons, and often work with their partners to customize special offers exclusively for Active Junky members. We believe developing these kinds of “Member” services across our portfolio of brands will augment our strategy of unifying content, commerce and community.”

With a rapidly growing community of registered users, Active Junky has partnered with the top online outdoor gear stores (100+) so consumers can earn cash back rewards on every gear purchase they make by simply clicking through Active Junky.com to the online store of their choice before making a purchase. Users can also browse, search and compare prices and reviews on all of the best outdoor gear products.

“Active Junky will also accelerate our move into an attractive and highly-lucrative new category: Outdoor Goods targeting the outdoor enthusiast. The outdoor recreation market generates upwards of $600B a year in consumer spending, and the research characteristics in product selection are very similar to our experience in the tech vertical,” added Mason.

As part of the Purch family of brands, Active Junky will remain a stand-alone property that supports the active outdoor vertical market.  The anticipated rollout of its customer loyalty platform across Purch’s properties is slated for early 2016.

“There’s an incredible amount of synergy between Purch and Active Junky that some may not see from the outside,” said Kevin McInerney, Founder and CEO at Active Junky.  “We both appeal to audiences of enthusiasts and have a strong, growing shopping community at the heart of our business model that attracts intent minded consumers, and drives loyalty and ongoing purchase volume.  This acquisition opens up a number of new revenue streams and I’m excited to see the impact our loyalty platform has when it’s spread across Purch brands, some of the more trafficked properties on the Internet.”

Purch Gaining Momentum Throughout 2015

This news follows several significant milestones for the Company.  In June, Purch closed a $135 million investment round from Canso Investment Counsel to fund for strategic acquisitions like Active Junky, accelerate the Company’s already strong organic growth, and continue Purch’s disruption of the digital publishing model.  Purch also recently added Martin Nisenholtz, the former digital head of The New York Times responsible for reinventing its traditional publishing model, and private investor, John Stellato, to its board of directors.

Purch’s reach also continues to grow at an exponential pace.  This August, comScore ranked Purch the top tech publisher in the United States based on the size of its audience for the 10th consecutive month – achieving a new milestone with 56.6 million unique visitors.

To find out more about Purch, visit www.purch.com, or follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

About Purch
Purch is a portfolio of digital brands that helps make buying decisions easy for 100 million consumers and businesses monthly. Its respected sites such as Top Ten Reviews, Tom’s Guide, Tom’s Hardware, and Live Science natively integrate commerce and content in more than 1000 product categories so consumers can make better choices before, during, and after an important purchase. The company helps marketers achieve their branding and performance objectives in a high-quality, brand-safe context. Its sites connect in-market shoppers with more than 7,000 marketers and sellers, driving industry-leading conversion rates and $1 billion in commerce transactions annually. Purch is a high-growth, privately held company with more than 350 employees and offices across the U.S. and Europe. For more information on Purch, visit www.purch.com or follow the company on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Aims to get more revenue from new storefronts.

Space.comand Live Science—with more stores in the works for most of its sites. The strategy mirrors that of other hybrid retailer-publishers like Thrillist.

While Purch maintains that it’s profitable and has received $100 million in revenue, the company continues to seek additional ways to monetize its content using its 78 million monthly readers.

Just last month, for example, the publisher rolled out a new service to let companies buy native ad pages containing editorial reviews of their products. As Purch CEO Greg Mason put it, “The future of publishing will involve stronger incorporation of content and commerce to provide comprehensive experiences for audiences that build brand loyalty.”

By Anna Rohleder

Read more: http://www.adweek.com/news/press/science-and-tech-publisher-purch-bolsters-e-commerce-159938

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Leading Tech and Science Publisher Marries Content and Commerce With Debut of Newly Optimized, Expanded Online Storefronts

NEW YORK, NY–(Marketwired – Sep 4, 2014) - Purch, a content and commerce company, today unveiled new digital storefronts that integrate curated commerce experiences and relevant shopping opportunities into its top Science properties, Live Science and Space.com.

An innovator at connecting content, community and commerce, Purch designed the stores to facilitate purchase decisions for science and space enthusiasts. The new stores feature products that reflect the sites’ editorial focus – ranging from wearable fitness trackers to telescopes. An integrated shopping experience allows visitors to move easily from the sites’ award-winning editorial content to relevant purchases, all in one seamless experience.

“Today’s consumers not only look for great content, but also native commerce opportunities that complement and enhance the editorial focus of the site,” said Greg Mason, CEO at Purch. “The future of publishing will involve stronger incorporation of content and commerce to provide comprehensive experiences for audiences that build brand loyalty.”

The stores feature enhanced search and streamlined checkout capabilities, as well as responsive design. Optimized for desktop, tablet and mobile use, the stores deliver an enhanced user experience across any device, from homepage to checkout.

Live Science, launched 10 years ago, is one of the largest science sites on the Internet, illuminating life and technology through the lens of science with daily news and analysis of discoveries and innovations, as well as reviews of health-tech products. Since 1999, Space.com has been the world’s No. 1 source for skywatching advice and news of astronomy, space exploration, commercial spaceflight and related technologies.

Beyond Space.com and Live Science, Purch has become the foremost resource for technology and science information, helping 78 millionshoppers worldwide make complex buying decisions easy each month. The success of the company’s approach and the quality of its editorial is evidenced by the more than 7,000 marketers and sellers that come to Purch to connect with ready-to-buy consumers, driving more than $1 billion in commerce transactions annually.

To find out more about Purch, visit www.purch.com or follow the company on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

About Purch

Purch is a portfolio of digital brands and services that helps make complex buying decisions easy for 78 million consumers monthly. Its respected sites such as Top Ten ReviewsTom’s GuideTom’s Hardware, and Live Science natively integrate commerce and content in more than 1000 product categories so consumers can make better choices before, during, and after an important purchase.

The company helps marketers achieve their branding and performance objectives in a high-quality, brand-safe context. Its sites connect in-market shoppers with more than 7,000 marketers and sellers, driving industry-leading conversion rates and $1 billion in commerce transactions annually.

Purch is a high-growth, privately held company with more than 350 employees and offices across the U.S. and Europe.

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