After a long winter, rebranding has been springing up like May flowers in publishing circles.

Take tech industry publisher TechMedia Network’s recent rebrand to Purch after recent acquisitions of BestofMedia and lead-gen platform Buyer Zone. What’s behind the new name? A solidification of the company’s role as an expert source at the nexus of content and commerce—a direction it has been moving toward for some time.

“The new name is definitely evocative of our mission that we live and breathe—to make complex buying decisions more simplified for consumers and professionals,” says Erin Kapczynski, VP of marketing. Citing a “growing chasm” between the existing name and the company’s mission, Kapczynski tells min, “We wanted to communicate what we do with a new name that’s shorter, punchier and more memorable.”

According to the company, which counts a collective 78 million readers across its publications and sites, 81% of U.S. shoppers spend 79 days gathering information online before buying a product. Purch’s digital platform, which includes b2b-focused site Tom’s Hardware, matches advertising and product reviews with editorial content with a goal of increased reader engagement in both industry and consumer realms.

It’s a mission that’s served the company well, and will lead it to around $100 million in revenue this year, according to Purch, which attracts 7,000 marketers and sellers to its sites and drives north of $1 billion in annual transactions for its clients. It’s also led to growth on the content side, like the recent annexing of Ziff Davis’ Mobile Nations’ brand and its sites Android Central, iMore and Windows Phone Central to the Purch platform.

While some companies may opt to rebrand first and then steer the company in a new direction, Kapczynski says for Purch, “it was just the opposite. We took a hard look at what it is we do well, and what value we bring to consumers as well as to advertisers and sellers, and it became very clear that our value is simplifying complex buying decisions.”

By design, the executive team involved only a small group of company leaders in the decision-making process behind the rebrand, “It’s been exciting to see how quickly everyone has adopted this culture that was created as a result of rebrand.”

The same tact of company evolution first, name change second guided the rebrand at publisher F+W Media, which recently adopted the new moniker F+W, a Content + eCommerce Company. Again, the new name pretty much says it all, emphasizing the ecommerce business the company is embracing.

“We felt like we needed to do the work first, get the results and build the infrastructure and the business,” says chairman/CEO David Nussbaum. “So when we announced the rebrand there was not a lot of, ‘what are we doing and why are we doing this?’

Nussbaum says F+W rebrand “better reflects who we are, since the company moved more aggressively into the e-commerce space.” Having Media in the name “was not terribly accurate,” he notes. “We are a company that produces content, but that no longer means just an article in a magazine or a piece on a Website. It could be online video, terrestrial television, conferences and Webinars.”

Additionally, F+W currently operates more than 20 e-stores and growing, selling everything from content to products. The commerce business is leading significant growth, from $6 million in revenue when F+W opened its first digital store in 2009 to a projected $60 million in 2014, Nussbaum says. “That’s the kind of scale we’re talking about.”

By Cathy Applefeld Olsen, min online

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Digital publication network Purch, formerly known as TechMedia Network, shared some interesting financial statistics today that show the company is growing at a steady pace.

In addition to operating numerous news sites, like TopTenReviews and Tom’s Hardware, Purch operates a platform that matches up content, advertising, and product recommendations within news and review publications. The platform’s goal is to increased engagement from readers, who may then purchase products or services based on that experience.

The company told VentureBeat that it has close to $100 million in annual revenue this year, and seeing annual growth of more than 20 percent. A Purch spokesperson also said the company is profitable, and on track to continue profitability indefinitely.

Purch also claims that it has the largest audience of any site in the tech vertical, which would mean that it’s bigger than CBS-owned CNet and Ziff Davis. We haven’t been able to verify that claim.

Part of the Purch’s success could be due to Purch’s (then TMN’s) purchase of Bestofmedia last year — which gave it access to well-trafficked publications like Tom’s Hardware, Tom’s Guide, and Tom’s IT Pro — as well as its acquisition of B2B-focused BuyerZone earlier this year.

Today Purch also announced that it’s signed an exclusive partnership with digital publisher Mobile Nations, which runs Android Central, iMore, WPCentral, Connectedly, and others. The partnership will bring Purch’s content and commerce recommendation platform to Mobile Nation sites.

Founded in 2003, the New York-based company has raised a total of $40.5 million in funding to date. Purch currently has over 350 employees in nine offices across the globe.

By Tom Cheredar, VB

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There’s been a spike of corporate media rebrands in the last couple days. Glam is now called Mode Media to reflect its new broader market coverage. TechMedia Network announced today that it’s now Purch—a shortened reference to its products’ focus on tech product purchasing decisions. And F+W Media is now officially called F+W, a Content + eComerce Company.

For F+W, the change is more representative of the company’s ongoing strategic shift into e-commerce. Not long ago, it was known simply as an enthusiast publisher in the craft, art, writing and outdoors markets, then called F+W Publications.

As the company expanded its commerce product lines—related third-party products, pattern kits, digital downloads, etc.—F+W also began to de-emphasize its media designation, instead using its brands as a way to support communities and their product purchasing power.

“The new name doesn’t categorize our company or consumers, or hinder the creativity and entrepreneurship of our teams to come up with new ways to engage our consumers,” says F+W chairman and CEO David Nussbaum in a statement. “But instead keeps the focus on our content—in all forms—which sits at the heart of the company. And our e-commerce business which allows us to deliver that content in myriad ways and interact directly with our valued customers.”

In the last six years, the company says it has grown its e-commerce business from one store and $6 million in revenue to 31 vertical stores generating close to $60 million.

Last year, the company says its stores attracted 20 million unique shoppers and completed 650,000 transactions.

While the new name puts F+W’s commerce ambitions on equal footing with its content operation, Nussbaum declined to be more specific on top-line percentages, other than to say that e-commerce is now a “very meaningful percentage of the company’s overall revenues.”

By Bill Mickey, FOLIO:


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