Hoping to establish one of the most powerful multidimensional marketing platforms to target the world's affluent, Millionaire.Com, Hilton Head, SC, announced the purchase of Millionaire Magazine, which it will transform from a quarterly into a monthly when the company launches its new Internet portal and expanding auction business this month.
Millionaire.Com CEO Robert L. White — who founded the Robb Report in 1968 and sold it in 1983 — will continue to position Millionaire Magazine as an advertiser-supported publication providing editorial content to an affluent-minded audience. But a high-end, auction-oriented appeal seems likely to emerge.
“We don't know of anybody else out there who's doing this,” said Steve Samblis, of Fortune Marketing & Capital Consultants Inc., Longwood, FL, who is handling investor and media relations for the company. “We haven't run across anyone in our research who can say that they have a national magazine and an Internet presence working together with a physical auction site. We'll have everything — the relationships and the products: rare vintage wine collections, sculpture, classic automobiles, yachts, real estate … the very best the world has to offer.”
Millionaire Magazine, which has existed as a quarterly for the past five years, comes under White's wing with an editorial staff of 23 headed by Dan Gleason, a one-time editor at the Robb Report.
Samblis said the company also plans to offer the same broad range of luxury and one-of-a-kind products through its new monthly magazine that it makes available at its auction and retail facility. It will use its online auction capabilities at the Millionaire.Com Web site to bring potential buyers and sellers of premium luxury items together.
Opensite Technologies, Research Triangle Park, NC, is creating the software the company needs to link its prospective advertisers and readers with its already existing portfolio of Global Auction Emporium clients. International Strategies Pty Ltd., Brisbane, Australia, is designing and constructing its Net portal, which will be fully operational this month.
By presenting the high-end affluent readership of Millionaire Magazine with the opportunity to realize live bidding opportunities — both on and off the Net — White seems to be creating a kind of hi-tech, millennium-style Robb Report with an eye toward cornering those who are already moving in the auction-friendly world.
Indeed, the company's multilevel concept — while not new — could go far in capturing a sizable portion of what is still a fragmented multibillion-dollar marketplace. And exploiting a publishing vehicle like Millionaire brings obvious relationship marketing cache to a company that is at least partially banking on a good auction industry future.
The most strategic link, however, may rest less with White's online vision and more with his ability to increase total advertising pages in his new magazine. But creating a strong interrelated service platform will mean moving the magazine's circulation beyond its current 52,000 that is comprised solely of newsstand sales.
“Yes, it all has to work together,” said Samblis. “If you separate them it's a huge mistake…we want to use a multitargeted approach to keeping the message out there about what's going on, about what we're doing.”
According to Millionaire.Com-acquired figures, there were more than 10,000 active auction firms in the United States six years ago. But some sources indicate that the growth of online auctions may have significantly affected that number since 1992.
Still, the company points to research predicting triple digit growth of the online auction industry within three years. Whether or not that growth, if realized, will translate to a general overall expansion of the auction industry or merely a dilution of traditional venues is unclear.