E-commerce

There used to be two primary methods for making money online: selling advertising and selling subscriptions. Now, publishers are finding innovative ways to diversify their revenue streams, setting up storefronts and forging partnerships to hawk everything from digital archives to paintbrushes. What’s the right e-commerce play for your business? See if these resources spark some new ideas – or recharge some old ones.

FEATURED STORIES

Journalism Online’s Crovitz: Early customers prefer metered, segmented options for online payments
Journalism Online has begun to release more details about its online payment system, called Press+. In a Q&A with eMediaVitals, co-founder Gordon Crovitz discusses the company’s revenue model, the various payment options that customers are testing, and what he sees as a negligible impact of paid content models on ad revenue.

Your guide to payment gateways
Before you roll out a new e-commerce offering, you'll need the technology to process credit cards. Here’s how to get set up quickly, easily and securely.

Who owns your customers?
As e-readers and smart phones put Internet giants between media brands and their customers, how do you adapt? Here are five ideas media companies should be addressing in a world of app stores, social media and other disruptive channels.

CASE STUDIES
Got commerce? Enthusiast publisher F+W grows emedia store business 113%
F+W Media has moved away from its reliance on advertising and built a robust online business selling books, CDs, DVDs and an increasingly broad array of partner and affiliate merchandise to its enthusiast communities.

‘Context aware’ commerce: How two publishers are riding the next wave
Success Magazine and Modern Distribution Management are vastly different enterprises. Yet both have grown their businesses – and their average revenue per reader – using a similar approach: aggressively creating context around their content, community and commerce offerings.

ADVERTISING
Hearst Digital’s Chuck Cordray: Plenty of life left in online ad models
Paid content models may be all the rage, but the head of Hearst’s digital business believes there’s plenty of life left in online advertising – and he has the numbers to prove it. Chuck Cordray, senior VP and GM of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, said display advertising revenue for Hearst’s digital properties grew 22% last year, and online ad revenues for the current quarter are on track to exceed those 2009 rates.

PaperG looks to automate local ads
Wouldn't it be cool if you could enter in a business name and automatically create an IAB-standard advertisement? Say hello to PlaceLocal.

Mobile coupons can engage users – as long as you have their permission
Sending e-coupons to your readers and prospects on their mobile phones offers plenty of opportunities for publishers, but the limitations (regarding opt-ins and privacy) are worth noting, as well.

How to make money from online classifieds
Publishers are beginning to move beyond simply trying to replicate their print classifieds model online. Here are five steps you can take to recapture lost business in the classifieds marketplace.

DIRECTORIES
Building a case for data-driven content
Amid the debate over paid content models and the concern over advertising declines, some publishers are ignoring a potential answer to both issues: data-driven content. Others, such as Edmunds.com and Golf Digest, have embraced the directory strategy to build robust online product offerings.

ADDITIONAL WEB RESOURCES

E-commerce and news: Lessons from the UK’s Telegraph
Publishers wary of experimenting with e-commerce should heed the experience of the Telegraph in the UK, which started launching a series of e-commerce efforts in 2008. The 154-year-old newspaper now says that a hefty percentage of its revenues come from online users buying goods and services – everything from tulips to Panama hats – directly through the site.

The great debate on micropayments and paid content
While pay walls for newspaper content have had mixed success, the idea of micropayments for news stories is once again gaining supporters, including New York Times columnist David Carr. On the other side is Mike Masnick, who runs the tech insight community Techdirt and has savaged the idea of micropayments for newspapers. The two square off in an email exchange.

Quick tips for salvaging abandoned carts
Someone who made the effort to visit your website, drill down to a few product pages, and put merchandise into the online shopping cart - but didn’t complete the purchase - has got to be a better prospect than the cyberspace masses, right? Yet most online marketers fail to follow up with consumers who abandoned their carts. And that’s a costly oversight.

While growing one product platform, you should be growing them all
Every new line of business publishers pursue—e-commerce, lead-gen, and so on—inherently requires a certain degree of cross-platform selling and conversion. In other words, as publishers expand their product platforms, so go the opportunities to grow overall audience numbers.

Condé Nast's culture shift
After a brutal year, Condé Nast is trying to fire up new sources of revenue, from iPhone apps to licensing its storied magazine brand names. The company has historically avoided aggressively licensing its products, but ad revenue concerns have opened minds.

Social Commerce 101: Leverage word of mouth to boost sales
Unlike the broad brush of social media – which is a catchall phrase for word-of-mouth activities of all kinds – social commerce is the strategy of connecting customers to customers online, then leveraging those connections for commercial purpose. In other words, social commerce moves the word-of-mouth needle from "buzz" to "buy."