E-magazines have sales in mind

Sept. 26, 2011 at 3:47 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. fashion magazines are blurring the lines between media and retail by selling goods they advertise or write about, industry observers said.

"There are no boundaries anymore," Howard Socol, a former chief executive officer at Barneys, told The New York Times.

"There's competition for everything. But it is kind of interesting if you are a store, because you're advertising in a magazine that is competing with you."

For example, GQ magazine now sells Calvin Klein turtlenecks at the GQ store and the Web site for Vogue magazine is now selling clothing created by top designers, such as Diane von Frustenberg and Derek Lam, the Times said.

The Vogue Web site says, "Vogue many receive a commission on some sales made through this service."

David Granger, editor in chief at Esquire, said magazines were taking a logical step. "What magazines have always done is to create desire in consumers. The next logical step is to fulfill that desire by selling the product. If we don't do it, somebody else is going to."

But the development is truly a logical step only by adding Internet shopping to the mix. Many Amazon affiliates, for example, provide content to interest readers, but make money off readers who clink on a link that gets them to Amazon and then results in a sale.

A Web site is not living up to its potential, some would say, unless it provides some links that lead to commissions for the owner of the Web site.

Granger said, "The biggest reason [magazines are selling[ is that magazines don't want to get left behind."

While described as an extension of business as usual, Brandon Holley, editor in chief of Lucky, a shopping magazine, warned that readers might lose trust in the editorial content of a magazine if it starts selling items it didn't consider high quality.

On the other hand, the Internet has changed the rules to the point that some readers will expect to have products available if they are mentioned in the editorial portion of a magazine.

Fashion magazines for years have listed outlets where items can be located. Now, with a click of a mouse, readers not only can get a list of available outlets, but make a digital trip to an Internet store itself.

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