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Presses Roll on First Issue of Buy.Com Magazine

Buy.com is moving into publishing. The electronics e-tailer will mail 5 million copies of the premiere issue of Buy.com Magazine over the next three weeks in an even split to customers and prospects.

“By pure definition it fits under the category of magalog,” said Stew Duncan, managing director of thinkbig, the agency that worked with Buy.com on the design and development of the publication. “But in looking to position and develop a brand amongst consumers we want to call it a magazine. Magalog is a fairly new term and we don't want to confuse anyone.”

Each issue will feature a variety of electronics available at Buy.com as well as articles designed to help readers make buying decisions.

“The magazine is going to feature what we feel will be the hottest products available,” he said. “And the articles are going to focus on trends that we believe consumers will want to know about.”

The first issue, which measures 9 1/2 inches by 11 1/2 inches, has 40 pages and features 263 products. It includes a welcome letter from Buy.com founder Scott Blum in which he provides his e-mail address and invites readers to “drop me a line and let me know what you think of our new magazine or anything else that's on your mind.”

“We want them to get back to us and tell us what they want and what they don't like,” Duncan said. “Hopefully it will provide relevant content so that they will not only look at it for the good deals but read the material as well.”

Articles in the first issue include The Benefits of Buying Online; Visualize More Workspace With an LCD Monitor; and Choosing the Right Digital Camera. Each article is less than one page. Most of the pages contain large, colorful shots of the products along with one-paragraph product descriptions, the price and item number. The company's URL and toll-free order number are at the bottom of most right-hand pages. Left-hand pages tout the importance of an extended warranty.

Duncan describes the design as “crisp and clean.” The cover of each issue will promote products and the season of the mailing.

The cover of the spring issue, for example, shows a cell phone, a palm pilot and a digital camera in front of green and yellow squares. The fourth square is a picture of blades of grass.

Buy.com has seven advertisers in the inaugural issue, including Visa, NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America, Cingular Wireless and Palm Inc.

“We have also gotten a good response in terms of interest from third-party advertisers,” Duncan said. “By the end of the year we are hoping to have as many as 20 advertisers working with us.”

Duncan said Buy.com hopes to expand to 100 pages and a circulation of 10 million by the end of the year. The next mailing will not go less than 5 million and may increase to 7 million, he said.

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