June 4, 2010

Media entrepreneur and owner of Conde Nast Publications, Si Newhouse, feared licensing would cheapen the Conde Nast name and divert focus from the respected printed magazine that had endured for so long. He was all about preserving the integrity of the brand.

However, in 2009, the world changed. Print advertising took a nose dive and the media world was transformed. We saw was Cookie, Domino, Gourmet and Portfoliofold. Consumers then and now are getting their information from other sources. Last fall, we saw Bloomberg buy BusinessWeek and today we are hearing about bids for Newsweek. To keep his properties vibrant and relevant, Newhouse changed his tune and allowed his magazines to establish strategic alliances.

Lucky and Vogue were the first to “test out” a union. Lucky paired withtheOutnet.com, Net-a-Porter’s outlet site, where LuckyMag.com’s sales would be promoted.  Vogue paired with e-commerce site Gilt Groupe, offering ready-to-wear looks based on their “Steal of the Month” page.  Both of those partnerships seem natural. To me, it makes sense that Conde Nast would want to try leverage their helpful shopping and fashion tips. But the latest venture over at Glamour was a little bit more surprising.

If you’re trying to find a date, forget eHarmony.com, PerfectMatch.com orPlentyofFish.com; look no further than Glamour.com. Glamour has partnered withMatch.com for “Glamour Matchmaker,” in which Glamour staffers will bring men who are already on Match.com over to the site to get a hold over the approximate three million women who visit Glamour.com each month. Oh, and rather than ordering flowers for your newfound love interest, starting in August, readers will be able to order Glamour branded jewelry through the site as a result of a partnership with the Home Shopping Network.

Call me old fashioned, but I am with Newhouse on this licensing movement.  I am skeptical of Glamour Matchmaker. Although I hope it brings nothing but happiness to Glamour’s loyal readers, can you ever be 100 percent positive these ‘eligible bachelors’ won’t do something to give Glamour and Conde Nast a bad rep? For now, we will just cross our fingers that Match.com’s filtering technology is up-to-date…

Read more about Glamour’s brand extensions in The Wall Street Journal’s articleSingle Magazine Seeks Well-Heeled Partners.

– Kristin Flynn