Sugar Buys Shopping Site, Trashes Competitor's Artificial Sweetener

  |  September 27, 2007   |  Comments

Female-focused publishers are really good at co-opting each other's ideas

Female-focused publishers are really good at co-opting each other's ideas. It wasn't long after Glam Media became the first notable smaller publisher to represent an extended network of sites that iVillage began doing the same. And this week, with the acquisition of "social shopping" site ShopStyle, Sugar Publishing has obtained new e-commerce and product discovery capabilities of the sort both iVillage and Glam offer.

In a video interview with AllThingsDigital's Kara Shwisher, publisher Brian Sugar describes the structure and strategy of the business, which has been renamed Sugar Inc. Along the way he takes a bunch of subtle and not-so-subtle swipes at rivals Gawker Media and Glam.

"Snarky's just sort of a trendy thing that eventually goes away," he tells Swisher, dissing Gawker without mentioning it by name (though Swisher had earlier referred to him as the "sweet Nick Denton"). "People magazine has a style we like. We model after them."

And in a blatant attack on Glam Media, Sugar tells Swisher he "really hates" sites that roll up comScore data from an extended ad network to "say they're bigger than they really are." Call it artificial sweetener.

Sugar is now hiring for a number of new and upcoming Sugar properties, including sites focused on pets, babies, finance and politics -- all bearing the Sugar name. Brian Sugar told Swisher the company's social network offering, TeamSugar, launched in February and has grown to 125,000 members. Every day Sugar writers produce about 150 posts and its extended community generates 15,000 pieces of content, some of which are promoted to positions of prominence on the network.

This summer NBC Universal Digital Media took a minority stake in Sugar. Part of that deal stipulates NBCU Digital Media will sell premium advertising on Sugar sites.


Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

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