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Time Warner StyleFeederIn mid-December 2009 the ShareASale affiliate network announced the winners of its 2009 Performance Awards. The "Exceptional Affiliate" prize went to a promising affiliate marketing company operating out of Cambridge, Massachusetts: StyleFeeder. A month later, the site was bought by Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the U.S.

The company describes itself in the following way:

"StyleFeeder is a personal shopping engine that learns your style and helps you shop for apparel, accessories, shoes, furniture, home goods, jewelry, gadgets. Think of us like a Pandora or LastFM for shopping, or a personal stylist who shops the web on your behalf.

We quickly learn your style so that every search on our site is personalized, returning products in your predicted order of preference. We'll recommend products we think you'll love, and even help you find your StyleTwins across the globe. We search thousands of stores and over 14 million products to find things that match your style... [my italics]

An excellent concept, and certainly reminiscent of a post stressing the importance of personalization of offers that affiliates display to their sites' visitors.

And no, it's no coincidence that this particular company is located in the home city of Harvard University. Two of StyleFeeder's employees, as well as two of the company's advisers, are Harvard's graduates. The brilliant team of people, their brilliant concept, and the success they have achieved in slightly over 3 years [see original press release here] of operating in the online space -- all of this has attracted some serious interest from one of the world's largest media conglomerates.

InternetNews.com writes:

Marking a significant entrée into e-commerce, magazine publisher Time Inc. has acquired StyleFeeder...

In the third quarter of 2009, Time Warner's publishing division, which includes Time Inc., saw its ad revenue drop 22 percent, or $129 million, from the same quarter last year, while subscription revenues fell 13 percent, or $49 million, over the same period.

The acquisition of StyleFeeder to build out a fledgling e-commerce business aims to carve out an additional source of revenue for the struggling division.

So, Time Warner has acquired a successful affiliate marketer in an effort to shore up their dropping revenues.

What are the plans for the nearest future, and cost of the deal?

The Wall Street Journal offers a sneak peak:

Time Inc. expects StyleFeeder to be laced throughout the Web site of its fashion magazine InStyle, a key brand inside a group of magazines, including People, that are highly regarded by Time Warner executives. Time Inc. said StyleFeeder also could be woven into Web sites of other brands, including Essence and People en Espanol.

Time Inc. didn't disclose the price of the deal, which is expected to be announced as early as Tuesday, but a person familiar with the matter said it was "well into eight figures."

"With more than 1 million registered members and 600,000 unique visitors monthly," StyleFeeder is expected to become a major source of power boost for the Web site of one of its magazines, InStyle" [source]. With the price of the deal being "well into eight figures", Time Warner obviously believes in the future of affiliate marketing, at least in the contexts of social and comparison shopping.

Geno Prussakov

Published 3 February, 2010 by Geno Prussakov

Geno Prussakov is the Founder & Chair of Affiliate Management Days conference, Founder & CEO at AM Navigator, author, internationally known speaker, and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can find Geno on Google+

27 more posts from this author

Comments (7)

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Ken Moorhead

I can't believe I forgot about Style Feeder! I thought it was such a great idea when I first came across it that I signed up, but I never finished the process of personalizing my preferences.

I think it's a great product and am too happy to hear they're doing well! Congrats!

about 6 years ago

Alec Kinnear

Alec Kinnear, Creative Director at Foliovision

Puff piece. How about putting some teeth into your writing, GP?

Look to your colleague Patricio Robles for some inspiration (but try not to swallow the randian free enterprise messiahism while you are at it).

about 6 years ago

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faith

Great post! I guess that could be a big problem 

in making money… if there is no offer how can you make money..

 at all? makes sense.I need to start making more offers.

Thanks for the great post!

about 6 years ago

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Lee Ricciardi

Does Time Warner still have Time Life as an affiliate?

about 6 years ago

Geno Prussakov

Geno Prussakov, Founder at AM Navigator LLC

As far as I know there is no (and has never been any) affiliation between these two whatsoever. Plus "affiliate" as used above means something entirely different from what you seem to be putting into this word. You must be implying the traditional business definition, while StyleFeeder is an affiliate in the sense that they monetize their traffic through the affiliate marketing model. More on the differences between the terms here.

about 6 years ago

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andrew

Hay i have a question i just bought a keyword domain to use for and affiliate program, and my question is can i just forward the domain to my affiliate link or should a build a little website for it and have some kind of text link to my affiliate link.  if you could help me out it would great Thank You

about 6 years ago

Geno Prussakov

Geno Prussakov, Founder at AM Navigator LLC

Andrew, sorry for not replying to you earlier. I was on vacation.

I would recommend building a website around the domain. I do not believe its keyword-richness will be of much benefit to you if it'll just be forwarding through an aff link to a merchant site.

about 6 years ago

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