Time Inc. Buys StyleFeeder For 'InStyle' Merger

StyleFeeder BannerTime Inc. has acquired StyleFeeder, a "personal shopping engine" that allows users to browse apparel and accessories, select items and receive more suggestions in similar styles, based on the aggregated preferences of other users.

The magazine publisher plans to bring StyleFeeder functions to Web sites of InStyle and other fashion and beauty-focused magazines. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but were probably somewhere in the range of "eight figures," per The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the social shopping functionality, StyleFeeder allows users to rate, search and sort over 14 million women's and men's fashion items from myriad online and brick-and-mortar retailers. They use various criteria, with a degree of specificity that enables browsing without being so broad or general as to be tedious.



Users can also interact with other members and purchase items through its e-commerce feature. According to comScore, StyleFeeder has 1 million registered members and 600,000 unique visitors per month.

It's not clear how Time Inc.'s acquisition of StyleFeeder will affect the site's relationship with Elle, the flagship fashion title of rival publisher Hachette Filipacchi. In March 2009, Elle and StyleFeeder entered into a strategic partnership that put StyleFeeder's personalized product recommendations and e-commerce capability at the disposal of visitors to the fashion magazine's Web site.

With magazine ad pages down 25% in 2009 and flat or down in several preceding years, publishers are scrambling to build new revenue streams, including acquisitions and partnerships with social shopping sites.

In August 2007, Hearst bought Kaboodle and is currently in the process of relaunching the site. In March 2007, Conde Nast launched StyleFinder. In the automotive category, Hachette has restructured its automotive division around Jumpstart, an online auto emporium acquired in April '07.

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