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I miss you Stylehive or How filling a page with ads depresses customers

Stylehive used to be a go-to site for me when I felt like looking for home decorations or clothes for my wife. Unfortunately, I feel like that is no longer true. The front page now contains so much stuff, compressed so tightly, that it is no longer easy or fun to breeze through. It has been made super-efficient for the Stylehive power user. Also, they have worked so hard to incorporate text links into product pages that the user experience is virtually destroyed every time I look at a product.

Here is a screenshot:

Stylehive Screenshot

Correct me if I am wrong, but half this page is ads and I have to scroll to see the full-size image of the picture I just clicked on. That’s awful! I can’t imagine that eHub is as proud to show this as they were the initial site design.

Why would Stylehive corrupt their own site? Well, they have taken $4m in venture capital. Probably hoping some revenue will offset anemic page view growth – here is the comScore data:

What’s crazy is that they are seeing strong unique visitor growth. comScore data:

I would maintain, because it selfishly serves my purposes and I know nothing about what I am talking about, that the page view growth is flat in the face of growth of uniques because visitors are coming to this site with good buzz and then are driven away by the morass of advertising.

With $4m in capital, they need to get to breakeven pretty quickly or start to show the kind of revenue ramp that might make people pay more than $50m for this company. Ouch. We have talked a lot about how easy it is to build a company with a little capital today. The downside of raising a little capital (and in this instance we will consider $4m little) is that you can never run out of cash. So if you aren’t getting to profitability and the looming threat of bigger and bigger raises with what is, in many instances, essentially niche sites that probably won’t justify 9 figure valuations, the real concern that a company has an unsustainable business model emerges.

I go to Stylehive less and less and today I could not figure out why I should ever go back. They are pushing community features out the wazoo, but I am not interested in being part of the community, I just want to find out what the hot new stuff is. Before, I knew Stylehive would give it to me. Now, I feel like Stylehive tells me about communities I don’t care about then tries to get me to click an ad.

I am reaching here, but it is how I feel. It is a shame they make me feel this way.

One Response to “I miss you Stylehive or How filling a page with ads depresses customers”

  1. Cogblog » Blog Archive » Stylehive Redux - Buried by Web 2.1 Says:

    […] Stylehive figured out a way to get me to come back: Send me […]