Women’s magazines have long recommended specific beauty products, and online-only publications like Lonny include buy links for featured products. Now Condé Nast’s Allure.com is taking the concept a step further: The women’s beauty magazine is relaunching its website and teaming up with Quidsi properties Soap.com and BeautyBar.com to allow users to buy beauty products directly through the site.
Magazines are struggling to find new sources of income online beyond advertising. The Quidsi/Allure partnership appears to be the first time a women’s magazine has teamed up with an online retailer in this way, and the revenue sharing model for the agreement was not disclosed. But other magazines have also started teaming up with online retailers. MasterCard sponsored the June iPad issue of Wired, for example, allowing users to tap products and buy them at Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN).
Allure’s revamped site illustrates the challenges of combining pre-existing content with buy links. Not every product mentioned on Allure’s site can be purchased, and all of the content is not fully integrated with Soap.com or BeautyBar.com buy links. In some cases, the link is seamless, as with the new “Allure Beauty Product Finder,” which allows to users save products to a favorites list or add them to a shopping cart. At checkout, they are taken to a co-branded page on BeautyBar.com. Orders are fulfilled through Quidsi in those instances.
But older content and links on the site aren’t updated for the new partnership.
Some products, like this hairspray, include buy links to beauty.com, which is part of drugstore.com and a Quidsi competitor–even though said hairspray is also sold at beautybar.com. (Update: This has been fixed.) Other products are listed as being available “at drugstores,” even when they are also available on soap.com. Presumably, retroactively updating all the product links on the site to include beautybar.com or soap.com links would have been a major time investment. But the next iteration of a site like this might include a more thorough marriage of content with one retailer.
Amazon purchased Quidsi last November, but its sites–diapers.com, soap.com, beautybar.com, and most recently pet supply site wag.com–continue to operate independently.
Allure.com says it has 1.2 million unique visitors per month.