The Luxury Letter Blog


Publisher Spotlight: Deal Breaker, Above The Law, and Fashionista
January 7, 2009, 3:05 pm
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by Hibben Silvo, Editor

This month we are featuring not one but three new publishers, Deal Breaker, Above the Law, and Fashionista, all published by Breaking Media.  The three sites provide valuable and interesting content to visitors with an enthusiasm for business, law, and fashion.  Breaking Media’s Publisher, David Minkin, gave us some insight into the three sites.  Check out his answers to our questions below:

David Minkin’s Bio: After graduating from Brown University I went to work at Forbes.com in ad operations.  From there I went to CFO.com where I managed business operations then later east coast ad sales.  From there I proceeded to run online sales at Institutional Investor and then finally left there after co-finding Dead Horse Media (later known as Breaking Media).

Adcision: Why did you launch Deal Breaker, Fashionista and Above the Law and what need has it fulfilled?

David:
Breaking Media has launched and operates three sites including DealBreaker.com (launched 3/06), AboveTheLaw.com (launched 8/06) and Fashionista.com (launched 1/07).    DealBreaker launched with a mandate to bring a new edge and independent voice to financial news with content aimed specifically to professionals in the finance industry.  The content is meant to be insightful, groundbreaking, funny and to challenge the conventional wisdom.   After seeing such success with DealBreaker we later rolled out AboveTheLaw, which caters to the legal industry.  Later we launched Fashionista.com, which isn’t quite as industry focused, but is still very insidery.

Adcision: Which three brands are you the most proud to have run on your site?

David: Target, Bloomberg, British Airways

Adcision: If you could only have one advertiser on your site, which would it be?

David: Target – I love them. Beautiful creative and the team at their agency is a pleasure to work with.

Adcision: Give me an example of something your readers discovered on your site that they probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

David: In terms of DealBreaker and AboveTheLaw we routinely scoop other sources with bonus compensation data (which is obviously very important to our audience).   And on Fashionista we announced Arlenis Sosa as the new face of Lancome literally weeks before any other source.  We’re good with getting scoops.

Adcision: Please describe a typical visitor to your site — what he/she is like, what motivates them to visit, what engages them while they are there.

David: Of course the typical reader depends on the site.  With regards to DealBreaker and AboveTheLaw the average reader is 30, extremely affluent and very well educated and most likely male (this is especially true on DealBreaker).  Fashionista readers tend to be around 25 years old, relatively affluent and very cosmopolitan.  Across all three sites about 40% of our readership is in New York.

Adcision: What do you wish more people knew about your “publication”?

David: The Breaking Media sites are the go-to destination to reach a young, upscale audience of professionals in major cosmopolitan areas.  Very few sites have such a high concentration of these influential players.  I want brands to know that we excel at engaging this audience and we do it successfully day in and day out.

Adcision: Can you namedrop… any well-known persons engaged with your site?

David: We once received a letter from Warren Buffet’s assistant disputing an argument we put forward on DealBreaker.com.

Adcision: What is the best source of traffic to your website?

David: Google.  But we’re regularly linked to by all major publications that cover fashion, law or finance.

Adcision: How do you get your content?

David: We have an incredible team of editors who are very networked within their respective industries.  A lot of our larger scoops come from tips sent in by our readers which are then corroborated by the editors.

Adcision: What’s the best article (or feature) that you have ever run on your site … and why do you think it was so popular (Please include a URL if possible)?

David: DealBreaker’s http://www.dealbreaker.com/2008/10/dear-investor.php post is great because it demonstrates the type of information that many financial institutions wish was kept hidden.  In many ways it’s this sneakiness among institutions that led to the financial mess we’re currently in.  One of the goals of DealBreaker is to shine a light on the darker corners of finance.

And of course I love that we broke the “Arlenis Sosa as face of Lancome” news on Fashionista.
http://fashionista.com/2008/09/confirmed_arlenis_to_lancome.php

Adcision: Please share some demographic information about your audience (i.e. average home value, average HHI, male/female ratio, etc.)

DealBreaker readers: 89% male, median age 30,  $246k average HHI
AboveTheLaw readers: 64% male, median age 30, $143k average HHI
Fashionista readers: 94% female, median age 26, $71k average HHI

Adcision: What is the most vexing issue facing your business right now?

David: Although we reach a very valuable audience because our readership is so niche we’re too small to be listed in @plan and thus we miss out on many RFPs from the big agencies.  Also, some of the more old school brands still think “blog” means a guy sitting in his pajamas writing in his mother’s basement.  These brands don’t realize that Breaking Media has 10 full-time employees on staff and is funded by a team of investors.

Adcision: Other than your own, what are some favorite luxury oriented sites you like?

David: These sites aren’t explicitly focused on luxury but I enjoy theatlantic.com and nymag.com

Adcision: What is your definition of luxury?

David: Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort. That also happens to be the American Heritage Dictionary’s definition.

Adcision: Where do you see the industry headed?

David: I think online publishing in general will have some interesting growing pains as display advertising (in the form of standard banner units) because less valuable to advertisers.  Where that leads I’m not sure…

Adcision: What are your goals for 2008?

David: To make our sites the go-to destination for people wanting the inside scoop on the finance, legal and fashion industries.



PUBLISHER SPOTLIGHT: INTERNET BUSINESS LAW SERVICES (IBLS)
November 4, 2008, 2:32 pm
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Publisher Spotlight:iblspicture

Each month we will be featuring luxury consumer websites, ad agencies, marketing firms and the people behind their success. This month we interviewed Ana Penn (right), founder and CEO of Internet Business Law Services (IBLS).
By Hibben Silvo, Editor

Every game has its rules, and Internet Business Law Services (IBLS) is the keeper of the Internet’s.  In the vast expanse that is the world wide web a framework of policies has been established to ensure that its players play fair.  Their website describes them as, ” the leader in keeping everyone who uses the Internet apprised of the global laws and regulations that affect their online experience.”

With every advertising dollar needing to be carefully spent, sometimes thinking outside the box is the best game plan of all.  IBLS may not be the first to come to an advertiser’s mind when planning a luxury campaign but they couldn’t be a more perfect fit.  With an average House Hold Income of $200k and an international reach that extends to 200 different countries IBLS is a site that will ensure your ads are catching the attention of the exact calibur of consumer your campaigns are targeting.

Ana Penn, IBLS’s founder and CEO, was kind enough to answer some of our questions:
Publisher Questionnaire

Adcision:
Why did you launch _IBLS_. com and what need has it fulfilled?

Ana: IBLS was launched in 2000 because there simply wasn’t anywhere to go to find out what the laws and regulations of doing business over the Internet were.  We have fulfilled the unique niche of easy to read and understand E-commerce legal information and online education for business and legal professionals from around the world.
iblsscreenshot
Adcision: Which three brands are you the most proud to have run on your site?

Ana: Horchow, Christies and Five Star Alliance.

Adcision: Give me an example of something your readers discovered on your site that they probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Ana: How easily understood our legal summaries are when written in non-legal ease by some of the worlds leading attorneys.

Adcision:
Please describe a typical visitor to your site — what he/she is like, what motivates them to visit, what engages them while they are there.

Ana: The typical visitor to the site is a high level business executive or government official who is looking for answers to an E-commerce legal question, or is looking to increase their knowledge in a variety of E-commerce law fields.  They typically stay due to the diverse amount of proprietary content and network of professionals that they have access to.

Adcision: Does your site have any unique features that you’re proud of?


Ana: We have many unique features on our site that we are proud of.  First of all, our “Digital Library” is the only one of it’s kind.   All of the legal summaries are written by E-commerce experts from all around the world and they are in non-legal ease so that they are easily understood by all business people, attorneys and government officials.  We also have the only online masters degree program in law that is approved by the ABA (American Bar Association).

Adcision: What do you wish more people knew about your “publication”?

Ana: How easily accessible the information is, which can save companies thousands of dollars on attorneys fees or fines and link them directly to the experts who wrote the articles.

Adcision: Can you namedrop… any well-known persons engaged with your site?

Ana: We have had two separate U.S. Federal Trade Commissioners fly out from Washington to be the keynote speakers at our 2 global conferences.  We are also preparing to publish a traditional book on E-commerce taxation with Oxford University Press, who are the oldest publishers in the world.  We anticipate the book coming out in March.  Lexis Nexis, Westlaw and EBSCO are also some of our legal publishing partners that we are proud to be associated with.

Adcision: What is the best source of traffic to your website?

Ana: Our bi-weekly Internet Law News portal, it has given us great exposure on all the major search engines and gained a very loyal and growing readership.

Adcision: How do you get your content?

Ana: From our over 450 law firm charter partners from 42 countries.

Adcision: Please share some demographic information about your audience (i.e. average home value, average HHI, male/female ratio, etc.)

Ana: Our average audience member is approximately 45, 65% male and 35% female with a HHI of $110,000


Publisher Spotlight: Lift Magazine
October 7, 2008, 1:36 pm
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Publisher Spotlight:

Each month we will be featuring luxury consumer websites, ad agencies, marketing firms and the people behind their success. This month we interviewed Tanya Ryno of LIFT Magazine.
By Hibben Silvo, Editor

Tanya Ryno claims that she is in pursuit of the 25-hour day, well with several years under her belt as a producer for Saturday Night Live, a writer for Weblogs Inc., a photographer, a movie on the Sundance Channel, and a phenomenal fitness website to boot, I think it’s safe to say she has found it. Tanya is the founder of a site called LIFT Magazine; it is dedicated to those with a keen sense of adventure and a zest for fitness and the outdoors. Lift features the most up to date and top of the line fitness equipment and gadgets along with spotlights on individual athletes (both professional and amateur), fun facts, and other outside-the-box tidbits (Lingerie Football League anyone?).

Tanya took a moment out of her 25-hour day to answer some of our questions about herself and LIFT. On a second thought, she was most likely also running a marathon, cooking dinner, and scouring the web for great new articles to share with the site’s followers. Here are her answers below:

Biography: As an established film/tv producer, an entrepreneur, a photographer by hobby and a writer who is continually in search of the 25-hour day, I live by my own motto by working hard and playing harder.

Adcision: Why did you launch lift-magazine.com and what need has it fulfilled?

Tanya: I originally launched LIFT Magazine to help out my husband’s business … but it soon took on a life of its own and expanded with an audience that kept coming back for more.

My mission is to give a fresh perspective and strong voice to any product or person that brings exciting innovations to our lives and encourages us to get off our lazy asses and enjoy the luxuries that life has to offer.

LIFT quickly became a web magazine for the adventurer in all of us (not necessarily the gym goer) — urban men and women who work hard and play harder. And, LIFT readers have reached a time in their lives when they have the means, passion, health, and experience to enjoy what life has to offer. They love challenges, appreciate quality, and pursue excellence.


Adcision: Which three brands are you the most proud to have run on your site?

Virgin Charter, Johnny Walker and Diane Von Furstenberg

Adcision: If you could only have one advertiser on your site, which would it be?

Virgin Charter or any advertiser that represents a lifestyle filled with fun … a product that represents the exciting side of luxury.

Adcision: Give me an example of something your readers discovered on your site that they probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

I often give examples of motivation that you won’t find anywhere else … fitness isn’t about living at the gym, it’s about living at your peak, no matter what stands in your way. It’s about obeying the alarm clock, peeling yourself out of bed, and finding that extra hour most people think they’ll never have. I show you how other successful people do that, and I do it without preaching.

Adcision: Please describe a typical visitor to your site — what he/she is like, what motivates them to visit, what engages them while they are there.

I stated this above, but it most accurately describes my reader: , LIFT readers have reached a time in their lives when they have the means, passion, health, and experience to enjoy what life has to offer. They love challenges, appreciate quality, and pursue excellence.

Adcision: Does your site have any unique features that you’re proud of?

Well, LIFT TV is coming soon. But other than that, the content is what I’m most proud of.

Adcision: What do you wish more people knew about your “publication”?

That it’s not only interesting but it’s funny. I try to write with a sense of humor.

Adcision: Have you heard of any interesting transactions that have occurred as a result of your site?

A number of my readers actually purchase items that I post about. I’m always surprised to hear that someone has bought something and mainly because of the way that I wrote about it. – This shows me the power of the written word and reminds me of the pressure to be as accurate as I can when writing about something I like.

Adcision: Can you namedrop… any well-known persons engaged with your site?

Specifically I know of a few celebrities who have visited my site and I know that a number of other popular sites, constantly contact me for design advice.

In regard to celebrities, often the ones that I interview write to me stating that they enjoying reading my site … I hope that they continue to come back.

Adcision: What is the best source of traffic to your website?

Referral links. Other sites who link to my posts. Women’s Health Magazine, REAL SIMPLE Magazine, ASKMEN.com and Kineda all have LIFT Magazine listed in their “Blogs we love” section. I always receive a lot of traffic from them.

Adcision: How do you get your content?

Research, research, research! And, now that I’ve grown, I’ve actually started to create original content by interviewing people that my readers are interested in.

Adcision: What’s the best article (or feature) that you have ever run on your site … and why do you think it was so popular (Please include a URL if possible)?

My most popular articles are articles about products.
http://www.lift-magazine.com/journal/airboard-freeride-180-forget-what-you-thought-you-knew-about.html
and
http://www.lift-magazine.com/journal/fitflops-can-a-shoe-tone-your-butt.html

I believe it’s because people are looking for honest answers about products before they decide to purchase or not.

Adcision: Please share some demographic information about your audience (i.e. average home value, average HHI, male/female ratio, etc.)

50/50 Male to Female … infact, Male readers have increased by 20 percent over the last year. In a survey that I once ran, the average reader was high income of $75,000 plus.

Adcision: What is the most vexing issue facing your business right now?

Trying to figure out how to integrate video into my format and expanding my network … I’m in the process of starting another upscale blog called CANVAS … it will be a daily look at modern beauty (i.e. plastic surgery and beauty).

Adcision: Other than your own, what are some favorite luxury oriented sites you like?
Justluxe.com
Portfolio.com
LuxuryCulture.com

Adcision: What is your definition of luxury?

It’s a lifestyle choice, something that is an indulgence rather than a necessity … something that is hard to obtain, but worth the effort.

Adcision: Where do you see the industry headed?

No matter how the economy turns, there will always be a high-class market. It’s about BRANDING.

Adcision: What are your goals for 2008?

To expand my brand and my network … to continue to provide interesting subject matter to an audience who is looking for it.



Publisher Spotlight: Spire
September 3, 2008, 1:35 pm
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Each month we will be featuring luxury consumer websites, ad agencies, marketing firms and the people behind their success. This month we interviewed Janet Kraus and Suzanne Aaronson, Co-founders of Spire.
By Hibben Silvo, Editor

Trust is the most crucial part of any relationship, and Spire is built on just that.  Whether you’re renovating your bathroom, planning a safari or simply want to purchase an elegant wedding gift you can rest assured that the tips and suggestions on Spire will lead you to nothing short of the best.  The site’s ‘about us’ section describes them as “the leading social resource for affluent people.”  With a long history of good taste and an insistence for quality, the co-founders, Janet Kraus and Suzanne Aaronson, search the world for high-end goods and services for their members to reference.
Janet and Suzanne took some time away from their quest for the best to answer some questions about their site and how they perceive luxury. Check out the interview below:

Co-Founders:

Janet Kraus (left): As CEO, Janet drives Spire’s vision and culture. She came to Spire by way of Circles (the leading provider of concierge services), the company she co-founded with Kathy Sherbrooke and recently sold to Sodexho Alliance. While at Circles, Janet oversaw the company’s growth strategy, including the creation and ultimate spin-off of Spire as a stand-alone company and simultaneous purchase of Suzanne’s Files.

Suzanne Aaronson (right): As Curator, Suzanne leads Spire’s editorial team and countless unpaid international contributors in skimming the world for quality lifestyle finds. Suzanne’s passion for “finding the best and leaving the rest” began in her early twenties. Over the years, tips from savvy friends and notes from international hotspots grew into a prolific, in-demand knowledge base and eventually evolved into Suzanne’s Files, a successful business with an impressive international following.

Adcision: Why did you launch spire.com and what need has it fulfilled?

Suzanne: We felt that the highly affluent who are time starved and deeply value in-the-know insight were not being well served in the lifestyle arena.  Although there are some one-way static print resources, before we started there were not any on-line resources that combined highly vetted and culled recommendations with the social elements that make the web so powerful – people tapping into people.  There was no resource like this that could be tapped anytime/ anywhere.

Janet: Also, it was clear that while many premium and luxury brands were beginning to realize that their customers were on-line; very few had really made the big leap into the world of online marketing beyond search.  We felt that we could create an online media property where premium and luxury brands could really feel safe testing and learning with real customer engagement.  Although there has been a lot of talk about this, we believe the techniques for doing this are in the infancy and there is so much more room to help brands really connect with their customers – current and future.

Adcision: Which three brands are you the most proud to have run on your site?

Janet: We are really very new – our new site has been live since June – and frankly we are very excited by the breadth, quality and variation in size of the partners we have engaged with – from Ritz Carlton Club, Amex and Forbes, to the Adventure Collection and Luggage Forward, to Mutual Art, Black Tomato and Vivre, we are excited by all of them because part of our value proposition is that we can help drive engagement for premium, upscale companies of any size.

Adcision: Give me an example of something your readers discovered on your site that they probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

Suzanne: Every day consumers will discover something new on Spire to resonates with their passions or answer a burning question.

From a perfect day in Mallorca, a perennial summer hot spot and the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands … to the world’s best Hot Air Ballooning outfitters and experience.  From the world-leading kids’ museums- wonderlands for art, innovation, adventure and imagination to choice custom home wine cellar designers for the connoisseur wine collector.  And from eco-intelligent appliances for home and garden to a 5-Star hotel with an innovative holistic wellness center for those with chronic back pain in Aspen.

Adcision: Please describe a typical visitor to your site — what he/she is like, what motivates them to visit, what engages them while they are there.

Suzanne: Spire.com subscribers & members have one thing in common across their ages, sexes and nationalities:  They care about what is high quality and unique.

Whether a 32 year old professional on the rise, a 38 year old stay-at-home mother with two children, or a 52 year old hedge fund manager – every one of our customers seeks “the best” and has his or her own definition of “best.”  Every loyal customer of Spire is seeking a shortcut to quality information.  Everyone wants the inside scoop.  Everyone wants the information that a friend — who went there, did that or researched that — has to offer.  The Spire customer most values opinion and recommendations from those s/he can relate to.  People like them.  The Spire customer DOES NOT want to spend endless hours figuring it out him- or herself.

Our customer is uniquely engaged on Spire.com with both the in-the-know InsightTM provided from other members AND the vetted, authoritative pithy files that we curate.

Adcision: Does your site have any unique features that you’re proud of?

Suzanne:
We are proud of the way that we blend vetted lifestyle content (our Files) with members’ perspectives. This “blended approach” is simple and authentic in its concept as it   mimics the everyday behavior that the “Cultivated Consumer”  – someone who both “researches” for third parties AND relies on the insights of people they trust.


Adcision: What do you wish more people knew about Spire.com?

Suzanne: The more active target audience members, the more useful Spire.com becomes!  If a member invites his/ her friends and they do the same, and those friends do the same and so on and so on … you trigger the “network effect” and tap your 6 degrees of separation.  Once this starts to happen, you truly are able to “get to’ any piece of info that will help you to live life well.

Suzanne’s Files are highly differentiated from any other lifestyle content available in the published world.  They are 15+ years of collecting tid bits and discerning people’s insights to present this basket of only the great stuff – leaving out the rest, that is the noise . . . and even telling you the little things – good and bad that help you to make the final decision.

Adcision: Can you namedrop… any well-known persons engaged with your site?

Suzanne: We value the privacy of our members but feel comfortable saying that there are several business “celebs” who are members of Spire.com – real leaders in their sectors, be it Finance, Fashion, Arts, Design.  They value that they can be anonymous and yet tap “people like them”.

Adcision: How do you get your content?

Suzanne: I tap my own personal experience, trusted worldly friends and increasingly our growing “International Collective” of professional experts and insiders (all unpaid “passionistas”) who provide personal feedback/insights as well commentary and ideas for future Suzanne’s Files. Our contributors live & travel in various small and large markets keep us abreast on their finds, opinions and feedback of companies, products & services we cover for SFiles

Adcision: Please share some demographic information about your audience (i.e. average home value, average HHI, male/female ratio, etc.)

Spire:
•    Age:  early 40s
•    Income: of 60% $200k+, 27% over $400k
•    Assets of $1 million+
•    Degree Educated
•    55%/45% — Female/Male Ratio

Adcision: What is your definition of luxury?

Suzanne: Luxury is an over-used, over-hyped, all-over-the-map word — what is Luxury anymore and to whom? Logically the word means different things to different people, at various life stages.
Personally, I find it a silly word now – but it used to mean so much, and sound so good. So, it begs the question: What is Luxury to you? I can tell you what it means to me — and many YAWNS* out there, (Young & Wealthy But Normal) (source: Robert Frank, WSJ Wealth Reporter/ Richistan Author) “Luxury” is truly high quality, craftmanship and/or artisanal, simple beauty, those things that I don’t get or have daily…it is an experience I remember with color, a way my body felt or reacted to a physical challenge or a new depth of relaxation; it’s the freshest of air, and the most perfect summer peach or bright winter sun in a snowy place. A child falling asleep on you is a Luxury, to me. YAWNs are down-to-earth, have integrity; they are less interested in the what and more in the how and why. Read the rest of this entry