Long live content, and love live commerce, but the two together? Not so much. Content and commerce is dead, for now at least.
That was the message I got from the co-founders of co-CEOs of Refinery29, Phillippe von Borries and Justin Stefano.
Refinery29 started out eight years ago as a fashion blog and has since evolved into a lifestyle site with 11 million monthly uniques and a booming advertising business. Last year the company made a push into commerce, combining its strong editorial voice with the ability to buy an item.
But last week, alongside news that the company had raised $20 million in funding, Refinery29 also announced it was moving away from commerce. The incentives between a shopping site and a content site just don’t align, and Refinery29 decided to focus its efforts on what it did best — monetizing with elaborate branded content and ads. You might call it native advertising even.
We talked about all of that in detail during this week’s episode of PandoWeekly. Also discussed: Why investors are so hot on content deals right now, how Refinery29 basically A/B tests its stories, and why the founders are glad they waited many years before raising venture investment.