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eDiets Shifts Business Model

Online weight-loss company eDiets announced on Thursday it would shift its business model from offering only its own diets to offering a variety of diets.

When the move becomes official next Wednesday, eDiets hopes to differentiate itself from weight-loss pioneer Weight Watchers, which has operated weight-loss centers for four decades, by using its technology as a dieting platform. In addition to the 10 diets currently offered that it designed, eDiets has already added The Zone and Atkins diets.

“The classic drive-to-diet center pioneered by Weight Watchers worked for my mother, but today’s busy consumer needs a more convenient, flexible, private and cost-effective solution,” said eDiets CEO David Humble.

The Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based company said it would post a loss in the first quarter of between $1.8 and $2.1 million, on stagnant subscriber growth from its online advertising programs.

Despite high-profile ad deals on both Yahoo and MSN, eDiets said its advertising had not performed as well as expected. The company blamed a variety of factors: spam drowning out its email marketing efforts, the war in Iraq, and disappointing results of an ad campaign with a major portal partner.

The company said it had found many of its opt-in email newsletters were getting caught in overzealous email filters, hurting sales.

eDiets said it also had problems with poor performing advertising with a major portal that the compnay declined to name. It has marketing deals with Yahoo and MSN.

Finally, concerns over the war have presumably put off weight-loss plans, as eDiets said the sales performance of its marketing campaigns was off between 20 and 25 percent in March.

WSJ.com Plans Marketing Edition

The Wall Street Journal’s online arm plans to introduce a marketing-oriented Internet edition of the site.

The new effort, called The Online Journal’s Media and Marketing edition, will be priced the same as a site subscription. It will offer the same resources as the Online Journal, along with some extra features for those in the marketing and advertising industry. The marketing edition will include content from the Dow Jones Newswires and the print Journal, and will be updated throughout the day. In addition, WSJ media writer Joe Flint will write an online-only column about the TV business. The edition will also feature a daily analysis of the marketing statistics and company profiles.

The vertically focused Internet edition follows in lockstep with the Journal’s move last summer to introduce an edition focused on the health industry. The vertical editions, published by Dow Jones Consumer Electronic Publishing unit, allow Dow Jones to offer targeted publications without committing many new resources by drawing on Dow Jones vast resources at both its wire service and flagship newspaper.

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