NEW YORK — In a move to drive teens to its Web site, Ellegirl.com is partnering with ActiveBuddy, a software provider that will offer a personalized, instant messaging service to ElleGirl.com users.
EllegirlBuddy, a personality-driven, intelligent software tool, will afford the Web site’s users instant access to teen-savvy news; trends in fashion, beauty and entertainment, and the Ellegirl theme song. It will also complement Ellegirl’s print edition via embedded links to related content and services. The Buddy will answer teens’ questions through text-messaging platforms. Its launch, set for March 1, will coincide with the distribution of the March/April magazine, Ellegirl’s second issue. The first issue was published last August, two months after the Web site went live.
“With 74 percent of the teens online now using [some kind of] instant messaging, we wanted to personalize our instant messaging service rather than the Web site itself,” said Ben Tatta, chief operating officer of Lagardere Active North America, the electronic media arm of French media giant Lagardere SCA, which also owns Ellegirl parent Hachette Filipacchi. “We started working on this well over a year ago, when we found that the teen demo is one of the largest online and instant messaging is one of their most popular activities.” That effort led Ellegirl to ActiveBuddy, which also powers America Online’s widely used instant messaging service.
Ellegirl.com, launched last June, is now drawing about 225,000 users a month, Tatta said, noting that the site’s traffic has more than doubled, month over month, for the past three months.
That’s not all that’s brewing at Lagardere Active. Tatta revealed Friday that the unit is in talks to acquire “a couple of new cable TV channels. We expect to own them by yearend.” He declined to elaborate.