Well, Stylehive figured out a way to get me to come back: Send me spam.
Here is an email I got from them this morning and almost spam filtered:
Subject: Help me pick a hot bikini!
From: “firstname.lastname@example.org” <email@example.com>
I’m going to the beach next weekend with the new boy, and I need help deciding what bikini I should get to surprise him with. I thought you could help me decide. Hive the ones you think are the hottest! Thanks in advance, I will let you know how this little experiment turns out.
To see all your messages and respond here
If you want to follow me just click here.
I felt like this reeked of desperation so I went back to see what the hell was going on. So honeybee is a stylehive employee and she “used” the “send this member a message” button on thousands of members. How do I know she sent virtually everyone on Stylehive a message? Because she is getting dozens of new people “following” her this morning – more than 300 new friends this week.
Why does Stylehive need to send me sketchy email to check out their site? Probably traffic is flat. Let’s look:
Not exactly news, but traffic has flattened out. If they were getting $10 cpm’s per page, an outrageous amount for essentially demographic inventory, with 2 million page views/month they have a $20k/mo business. That does not get them there.
I do have to say that the site is headed in the right direction philosophically, it seems. Here is a product page that actually gives you data above the fold:
So that is the right kind of thing to help them improve frequency. A single 728 across the top and then the content you were looking for. Me, I would move the links to photo galleries at the top to a more compressed area, shrink the logo a bit, and jam the 728 into the very top. Page layout seems really clunky with the 728 where it is. They picture the “hiver” more prominently than the clothes you came to look at. Is that bizarre?
Unfortunately, the other direction they are heading to improve frequency is photo galleries, and there seems to be a big focus on driving traffic to the photo galleries on the site now. No surprise, it is mildly nefarious: Slide shows (their term for photo galleries) are automatically advancing pages that load a 728 in the bottom and a skyscraper on the side. When a slideshow finishes it automatically advances to a new slideshow. So they can generate a lot of high frequency traffic off a single inattentive visitor. Of course, this is all worthless traffic. I see a bunch of adify tags, so they are likely seeing < $1 cpms.
I saw back in December that they made an acquisition and in the article, PaidContent references several competitors. I put together a quick Alexa chart showing their traffic ranks:
I remember when Stylehive and ThisNext were the Web 2.0 shopping sites. It must be Web 2.1 because they are getting pwned by the new kids on the block. Stylefeeder has moved super quick. What are they doing? Couple of simple thoughts, although you never know without testing:
- Picture first, then description and tags. Stylehive does tags, then description, then picture, frequently pushing the picture below the fold. People are shopping visually.
- Celebs: Stylefeeder gets recommendations from celebrities. Stylehive from fashionistas. Celebs probably have a broader appeal.
- No ads above the fold. They have a 300×250 on the side and a 728 at the bottom, both below the fold, the result is a cleaner, less cluttered look.
- Recommendation that shows you other related things that people liked. Easy to do, why haven’t they done it
Seems unlikely that Stylehive will have the runway to turn this around. I suspect it is hard to raise more money with such anemic traffic growth in the past year. Even if they doubled it again next year, they don’t have the revenue to build a real business. Would Glam buy this business? Hard to imagine given that they are getting all of Stylefeeders ad space without having to take the risk of traffic generation.