Outside Brings the Active Lifestyle Online

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Outside, a travel and outdoor sports magazine, has introduced an online service for consumers who want to live the active lifestyle they read about in the 12-times-a-year publication.


The Mariah Media Inc. title partnered with The Away Network to produce Outside Life, an online portal. Located at www.outsidelife.com, the site is designed to help consumers shop stores, find gear or book a trip.


"Outside and Away are looking for new ways to help consumers live more active lives," said John Alderman, vice president of product and business development at Away, Washington.


"We're also trying to provide new, cost-effective ways for our advertisers to reach these consumers," he said. "Outside Life meets both of those needs while also developing new revenue streams and supporting circulation efforts."


A direct marketer of specialty travel online, Away powers GORP.com, GORPtravel.com, Away.com and Outside's OutsideOnline.com. The Outside Life relationship is unique in that a member's purchase made on the site or offline leads to a donation to a charity of the buyer's choice.


The program requires consumers to visit OutsideLife.com and register basic details and credit card information for free. These members are marketed through e-mail and on the site. They can read content and buy products or packages from participating companies through their sites, by telephone or by visiting stores.


Away monitors these transactions using credit card tracking technology. It is paid a marketing fee by merchants based on the transactions. Around 150 companies have signed up to sell on the site, sharing revenue that comes via that location.


"We donate a portion of that marketing fee to a charity chosen by members upon registration," Alderman said. Up to 5 percent of total purchases are donated to charities selected by members.


Away garners additional revenue through brand advertiser sponsorship packages. Tourism boards, too, will pay for the privilege of listing on OutsideLife.com. Lake Tahoe is the first board to sign up.


OutsideLife.com offers a plethora of options. Consumers can book vacations at Western ranches, opt for rafting expeditions or take adventure trips in South America.


Charter merchants include Within the Wild, Northern Outdoors, Natural Habitat, OARS, Mango African Safaris, Amazonia Expeditions, Whitewater Voyages and Glacier Wilderness Guides.


The site's home page lists these companies under the Outside Life Network section. It also lists by geographic destination. Deals, special offers and nonprofit announcements are plugged as well.


Outside Life targets active, affluent and educated consumers, Alderman said. Initial targets are the readers of the Web sites Away manages and Outside magazine.


Partnerships with nonprofits will expose the new brand to their membership base. For example, American Rivers will market to its members next month in a test.


Outside expects to throw its full weight behind the venture. Based in Santa Fe, NM, the 26-year-old publication has a paid circulation of 650,000. Readership is claimed at more than 2 million worldwide, including buyers of three special issues available at newstands and outdoor goods retailers. These readers will be duly informed of Outside Life.


Online ads, editorial promotions across the Away network, e-mail promotions to all databases and direct mail as part of the Outside subscription offers will tout the portal. Later this fall, display ads in Outside and USA Today will support.


"We're currently in the pilot phase," Alderman said. "Our goal is to acquire enough customers over the next four to six months so that we can test this with our existing merchant base in the third quarter."


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