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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
16 mins ago - Podcasts

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek does a podcast on the future of podcasts

Spotify on Wednesday reported significant ad revenue growth from its podcast business, as part of its quarterly earnings disclosure.

Take a listen: Company founder and CEO Daniel Ek appeared on the Axios Re:Cap podcast to discuss how the podcast business model is changing, why he's spending big on exclusive shows and his personal favorites in both podcasting and music.

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group reaches agreement on $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure bill

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images.

After weeks of long nights and endless Zoom calls, a bipartisan group of senators finally reached a deal on "the major issues" in their $1.2 trillion "hard" infrastructure package, GOP senators involved in the talks announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It could be days before the group finishes writing the bill, but the Senate can begin debating the legislation in earnest now that they have resolved the outstanding issues. The bill needs 60 votes to advance in the Senate.

After walkout, Activision Blizzard employees vow to keep fighting

Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Organizers of a Wednesday walkout at Activision Blizzard, the gaming company behind "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft," are saying the demonstration "is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore.”

Why it matters: Within the video game industry, sweeping promises for change are often followed by a handful of half-measures that fail to solve the systematic problems that caused them.