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Dotdash

The Spruce, one of the largest home decor websites on the internet, is launching its own organization product line in every Lowe's store in the country, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: It's a major step for Dotdash, the parent company to The Spruce, in its effort to move into e-commerce. To-date, Dotdash has been profitable by focusing on internet advertising around evergreen content.

  • It brought in $50.8 million last quarter and made about $16.2 million in profit, putting it on track to hit close to $200 million in revenue and $50 million in profit this year.
  • It makes a majority of its money from internet ads, and a large minority of it from affiliate marketing, taking a cut from product recommendations it links to.

Details: The Spruce Organization Collection was developed by The Spruce's editorial team and housewares design company iDesign in partnership with Lowe’s.

  • It includes an original line of containers and bins to maximize the use of space at home.
  • "The products are a natural extension of what we're great at," says Mélanie Berliet, General Manager of The Spruce. Organizational content on the Spruce's website has doubled since the pandemic, she notes.
  • The deal includes a revenue share, whereby Lowe's pays Dotdash a percentage for each sale. Spruce's branding and logo will be on all products and boxes.
  • Lowe's and Dotdash will help co-market the product. Lowe's will benefit from Dotdash's online marketing expertise and audience and Dotdash will benefit from Lowe's massive retail footprint of over 2,000 stores in North America.

Between the lines: This isn't Dotdash's first foray into commerce, but it's certainly its biggest.

  • In 2019, it launched a paint line with Amazon via The Spruce. "Paint is a small category but it's been a smashing success," says Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel. It's also experimented with selling pet care products from The Spruce on Amazon.
  • In the future, Vogel says it's looking to launch products for floor coverings and rugs, laundry and soft goods.
  • He says it may also develop its own products to do more direct-to-consumer marketing around its beauty website Byrdie.
  • Another category that Vogel is eyeing for potential commerce partnerships is food and beverage. The company acquired Simply Recipes and Serious Eats in September.
  • Dotdash now has a full-time, centralized team that helps to manage business deals around its commerce products. That team works in close collaboration with its editorial brands, who get full license over how the products look and feel.

The big picture: The pandemic has pushed internet publishers to more seriously consider commerce as a part of their strategies.

What's next: For now, the organizational products are being sold exclusively at Lowe's, but Dotdash is looking at ways to bring a unified direct-to-consumer commerce offering to its own properties in the future.

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.