BLURRED LINES: The Wall Street Journal is selling more than the news. On Friday, the newspaper launched “WSJ Shops,” an e-commerce site that is now a permanent addition to its homepage and the broader Dow Jones family of publications.
Running year-round, “The Shops” is essentially a souped-up version of the e-commerce gift guide the newspaper unveiled last holiday, according to Zachary Martz, WSJ retail development manager, who noted that the site may be accessed from the homepage of a variety of Dow Jones’ properties.
This story first appeared in the November 5, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Martz said the site is “a second step,” noting the online catalogue showcases “curated” picks from the newspaper’s technological partner, 72Lux. There is no involvement of WSJ “reporting” staff, a spokeswoman stressed. Martz said, “There is a definitive line between church and state, between editorial and content,” meaning other content on the Web site beyond stories.
Martz added, “We’re still exploring the line between editorial and content. We are not accepting money from brands or retailers.”
Underscoring the importance of “curation” over “brand recognition,” he added that shoppers won’t be aware of the product’s label until they click specifically on the desired ware.
That aside, the larger question has to do with revenue. Just how much is the Journal bringing in from this project, which already exists at a handful of consumer magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar and Lucky?
“We aren’t the type of place to throw money into the wind and hope it sticks,” said Martz, who declined to provide revenue projections. He did offer that, in addition to product sales, business is garnered from advertisers — and those advertisers, for the most part, are not selling their wares on the site.
“It kind of goes back to that separation of church and state thing,” he said. “We make news first. Everything that is digital is a complement to it.”