TRYING AGAIN: Marie Claire is hoping the third time’s a charm. The magazine is getting ready to relaunch its Web site to offer more content channels and, more importantly, hopefully attract more advertisers. Marieclaire.com — which has been redesigned twice during the past two years since it broke off from iVillage — will make its debut Jan. 15 with ads from Chevy, P&G, Always, Alberto Culver (Nexxus), Kao Ban, P&G Clairol, Sears and Wal-Mart. “We are expanding from three channels to eight, and this will provide more inventory to sell against,” said Ashley Parrish, senior Web editor. “Basically all of the magazine will be online as well as extra material such as the blogs, daily giveaways and horoscopes.” Parrish also plans to feature more video coverage, which will include video clips of Marie Claire’s forthcoming foray into reality TV, “Running in Heels.” Traffic has increased since the site’s last redesign, with 3.8 million unique visitors in December, compared with 461,000 visitors in December 2007. There were 17.4 million page views, versus 3.3 million during the same time frame in 2007, according to Omniture. — Amy Wicks
This story first appeared in the January 6, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
ALEF’S NEW LIFE: Alef, the Middle Eastern fashion and lifestyle magazine backed by Villa Moda, has closed and will relaunch later in the first quarter, according to Villa Moda founder Majed Al-Sabah. Al-Sabah told WWD that Villa Moda’s new majority shareholder, Dubai International Financial Center, was consolidating Villa Moda’s businesses into separate divisions, and that Alef would be part of the new publishing arm. “We’re looking to relaunch Alef in March to coincide with Art Dubai, and I will personally be involved in the new project,” said Al-Sabah. “We are also looking to bring Alef’s headquarters back to the region. It’s silly for us not to have our head offices in the Middle East,” he said, adding the new offices may be in Dubai. Alef’s main office is currently in London, and the publisher and editorial director is Paul de Zwart. The last issue of the two-year-old Alef was in the summer. A notice on the magazine’s Web site alerts readers that publication has been suspended and that “Modern Middle East Publishing, the company which publishers Alef under license from Villa Moda, is unfortunately not in the process to give readers and advertisers news on a possible relaunch.” The notice adds that, “Despite showing a positive balance sheet and showing healthy growth, circumstances outside the publishing team’s control have led to its present suspension.” — Samantha Conti