Though he has the conservative, steely eyed look of a lawyer-cum-news analyst, Dan Abrams really wants to be a Web mogul. And the past eight months have seen Abrams — NBC’s chief legal analyst and a former MSNBC host, most recently of “Verdict With Dan Abrams” — launch three online properties: Mediaite.com and GossipCop.com (which he cofounded) in July and geek-culture site Geekosystem.com in January.
Now Abrams is expanding into the fashion space with a fashion news and all-things-style-related Web site called Styleite.com, set to go live March 15.
“The fashion community is about two to three years behind many other industries when it comes to the Web,” said Abrams. “That does not mean that there aren’t some terrific Web sites out there — I think there’s going to be a great future for style and fashion on the Web. I just want to be a part of it.”
And Abrams is hoping Styleite will get him in the game. He’s enlisted Verena von Pfetten, a senior editor at Air America Media and former Huffington Post editor, to be the site’s editor in chief, while his former assistant, Ruthie Friedlander, will be senior editor of Styleite. (As with his other properties, Abrams will act as publisher and owner, but will not direct editorial content.)
“The goal is to provide an attractive home to people that is rivaled on no other site,” Abrams said.
To this end, and in addition to original reporting and analysis (à la Mediaite), Styleite will offer a user-generated section called Style Sheets, whereby users can post profiles and upload photos of themselves in their favorite outfits, which can then be tagged by fashion brand and style. (A user could click on “BCBG pencil skirt,” for example, to see all other user-submitted photos featuring that skirt, as well as pictures of celebrities who wore that skirt, if applicable.) While Abrams admits this concept isn’t exactly groundbreaking, he said his site will one-up others on the technology front. “No one that I know of has developed as sophisticated a technology to compare the same items worn by different people,” he claimed.
The same goes for the Power Grid section, which will rank some 2,000 to 3,000 “models, designers, brand executives, fashion photographers, fashion writers, modeling agencies, editors in chief, stylists, fashion titans and personal style bloggers” using a proprietary algorithm similar to the one used by Mediaite, he said.
And while e-commerce is in the cards, Abrams is currently in “active negotiations” and no partners have been confirmed.
In creating Styleite, Abrams has no doubt been buoyed by the success of Mediaite, which in January, according to Nielsen, had 1.7 million unique visitors and 5.4 million page views (up from 884,000 and 3.18 million, respectively, in December) and which Abrams expects will be profitable by the end of the year. Next up for Abrams is a sports site, SportsGrid.com, launching later this month.