The Luxury Letter Blog

Publisher Spotlight: Boston & Philadelphia Magazines
February 3, 2009, 2:37 pm
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This month we are featuring Boston and Philadelphia Magazines.  The sites provide valuable and interesting information to visitors to the two cities from where to eat, shop and stay to what to do with your time.  Ian Zweig gave us some insight into the two sites.  Check out his answers to our questions here.

Ian Zweig is the Online Marketing Manager at Metro Corp, publishers of Boston Magazine and Philadelphia Magazine.  He has spent his entire working career in the online advertising field helping companies grow their web business.  Ian received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Boston University.

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.

Ian: Since we own two City/Regional Magazine websites, a typical visitor comes to our site for lifestyle information.  They want advice on where to dine, the scoop on the fashion scene and the VIP insights on events.  In sum, these are the socialites of Boston and Philadelphia.  They come to our site with a certain mindset, which enables us to engage them in a personal manner.  They don’t come looking for general news, sports or weather, our readers come to plan their dinners, weekends, social activities, and shopping escapades.  Our highly qualified audience sees our site as a destination based on our expert advice and recommendations.

Adcision: Do your sites have any unique features that you’re proud of?

Ian: I’m proud of every part of our sites.  The largest asset to our site is the flexibility in programs offered and ability to work with our advertisers.  As with many sites, we offer the standard IAB ad displays or newsletters, but in addition we offer insightful customized programs for our users.

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

Ian: Our magazines provide a local perspective that is independent and authoritative.  We understand that our online audience wants information fast and easy.  As long as we continue to respect our readers, we provide a great advertising channel to reach consumer through a trusted environment.

Adcision: Have you heard of any interesting transactions that have occurred as a result of your site?
Ian: The most recent testimonial we received came from one of our Wedding advertisers.  Here’s the story: Our wedding section has a place where the newly-engaged can post their engagement on our site.  We have a company who sponsored this section of our site to reach brides and soon-to-be brides early in their wedding planning process.  By being contextually relevant in the wedding section, and connecting with the mindset of the users, our sponsor was able to land two deals in their first month.  Nice story, huh?  Here’s the moral: When we create customized campaigns we try and align content and mindset to connect our users and sponsor.  It’s easier to drive results that way.

Adcision: How do you get your content?

All of our content is created by our dedicated, hard-working, sagacious staff of writers and editors.  All of our magazine content is put online.  Additionally, online editors are the backing to our rich database of listings, our original blogs, and other online packaging.

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)?

Looking back at 2008, our most popular feature article on was ‘Best Places to Live’ ( )and the most popular feature story on was ‘Single in Philly’ (  I think these two articles were particularly popular because they contain intuitive, fresh content that you can’t find anywhere else.  It shows that we know how to connect with our readers in a timely fashion with stimulating content.  Also, we allowed our readers to engage with the content not just by reading the text, but by creating interactive slideshows that organized all the information in a user-friendly, fun fashion.  Talk about alliteration…

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

Male/Female – 45/55
Avg. HHI – $115,000
Avg. Age: 38
Top Hobbies: Dining, Traveling, Performing Arts, Shopping, Socializing

We did also ask our readers to provide their credit card limits, but you’ll have to take me out for lunch to find out that highly coveted information.

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

Ian: The most popular section on both our websites is ‘Best Of’.  Every year our editors choose winners in hundreds of categories ranging from ‘Best Brunch’ to ‘Best Party Dress’ selection.  Our three other heavy hitters are the main lifestyles sections: Dining, A&E and Fashion/Style.

Adcision:  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Ian: Of course, thanks for asking.  I would like to emphasize that looking for your target audience doesn’t mean looking at the largest websites. It means looking for the right people who you feel will buy your product.  Doing the extra work to figure out where your customers are online will pay dividends and make you look like a superstar when you show the results to the boss.  It’s amazing how a little extra work can go a long way.


Publisher Spotlight: Art Info
August 6, 2008, 1:22 pm
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By Hibben Silvo, Editor

Each month we will be featuring luxury consumer websites, ad agencies, marketing firms and the people behind their success. This month we interviewed, one of our newest publishers. Their site is a major hub for all things art and culture related, and what’s more lux than that Dali hanging in your foyer?

It’s called culture theory. It states that culture is what separates us from other species. If by virtue of the fact that a doodle can render upwards of seven figures then this theory must hold water. is a tribute to this phenomenon we call culture, most specifically art. From widely known artists, such as Picasso, to lesser known local artists the site compiles a wealth of information on everything including events, international art news, an art market, artists’ directory and basically anything else a savvy art aficionado could ever conceive of. The site is created by Louise Blouin Media, a cultural media group that also produces other publications such as Art & Auction, Modern Painters, Culture & Travel, Gallery Guide and Museums in New York and produces art price guides.

Don’t believe me? The National Post quoted that “it’s sometimes difficult to find a high-brow use for the internet, but I think surfing the Art Info Web site to take in a round-up of fine-art gallery exhibits across the world, or to see what the latest Chinese Ming dynasty painting is selling for, would qualify as such a cultured pursuit, don’t you?” The beauty of the site is that it’s a resource for artists, collectors, and anyone with even a basic interest or knowledge of art. took the time to answer some of our questions, check out the interview below:

Why did you launch and what has it fulfilled?

We re-launched in May 2007 because we saw a need to create a global destination for the arts with comprehensive listings of artists, museums, and galleries and the latest on-the-ground news reporting. Our audience is collectors, dealers, gallery directors/owners, and art world influencers and tastemakers.

The goal of the website re-launch was to provide our core audience, such as high-net worth collectors, with one-stop resource for arts and culture information in it’s many forms. We have exclusive features that cater to their needs. We know this is important—we have a strong user base with a high percentage of repeat visits.

The re-launch was also a new brand direction, with a completely new look and feel. We sought to address the changing needs of our audience. And through user research discovered that we could build a better product that more directly suits current arts and the art market on the internet. ARTINFO is as dynamic and global as the cultural scene it covers.

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

At the Sotheby’s Contemporary Auction sales last month, the two and a half hour sale generated a total of £94,701,550 ($188,853,831), just short of the £96.6 million pre-sale high estimate. Ten records for highest lots sold at auction for individual artists were set. All of these records are searchable in our Art Sales Index, ARTINFO’s auction lots database tool, which is free to anyone who visits ARTINFO.

The Art Sales Index is a tool that allows individuals to search lots at auction dating back to the 1920’s. Unlike some of our competitors, ARTINFO offers our database free to the public. And although used predominantly by collectors and auctions world professionals, the tool itself provides a wealth of information about artists their works of art; about historical market data, documenting the creative practice over a broad period of time.

ARTINFO is part of Louise Blouin Media—the international art publisher with strong titles such as Art+Auction, Modern Painters, Culture+Travel, Gallery Guide and the Art Sales Index and Gordon’s Data Publications. The strength of our offering is that ARTINFO reaches into all of these areas through our extensive editorial coverage, breadth of categories and depth of insider knowledge within the areas of arts and culture.

The other unique characteristic of ARTINFO and Louise Blouin Media products is the lifestyle component —there’s an awareness that important media shapes markets mindsets.

What are your goals in 2008?

ARTINFO has the unique position of having the ability to create high impact luxury opportunities by mapping the dedicated interests of our audience segments to focused areas on the website. Interest in art has grown into a cultural movement. Over 60% of museum directors cited increased attendance to art museums last year. What this means to us is that we look towards our audience and our advertisers to benefit from this expansion. We measure success by our ability to provide a fresh way to explore the arts and culture online through news, features, and arts related information.

Our goals for 2008 are to continue to build on the strengths of Louise Blouin Media print products, further expanding our online platform. We are extending the reach of our core online offerings to provide focal points for travel and auctions content, as well as meaningful contextual links amongst the depth of content we already have online. New and ongoing efforts to develop podcasts, video, and other new channels will provide a new means of delivering our content to our audience. ARTINFO is a content matrix and the possibilities for delivery are infinite.

A new energy has changed the world of art. There are record levels of investment; a heightened interest, especially from the affluent market; and a consumer mindset that prizes meaning over material. As art becomes more deeply integrated into fashion, society, and popular culture, our challenge becomes harnessing this energy into a meaningful experience for our visitors. And the internet is quickly becoming THE platform of communication.

Who is your audience?

Our highest segments of registered users are collectors, artists, and gallery owners and directors. Over 42% have a household income greater than $100,000, with 10% spending over $100,000 or more collecting art per year.

The strength of the ARTINFO audience is that we have high-net worth individuals who are not only collectors driven by the analytical aspects of the market like indices and trends, participating in the auctions world and global art fairs; but who are also passionate about the arts and the way that the arts impact humanity.

ARTINFO has a strong base in the US and the UK but reaches an international clientele with representation in all parts of the world: Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East; and Africa.