The Wall Street Journal plans to launch a commerce offering that will give users advice on which products and services to buy, publisher Almar Latour said in an internal memo to staff.
“With informed reviews and well researched recommendations, we will help our audience make decisions on the purchases they are researching and offer shoppers a unique and unbiased perspective from a new, yet familiar voice,” said Mr. Latour, who is also the chief executive of Journal-parent Dow Jones.
Josh Stinchcomb, chief revenue officer of Dow Jones, will oversee the initiative. Mr. Latour didn’t disclose any business plans for the initiative, including whether the Journal will have revenue-sharing arrangements with any retailers. Mr. Latour said the Journal’s commerce initiative will have its own content team and set of standards.
A Dow Jones spokesman declined to comment beyond the memo.
The Journal will join many other publishers that have already built out commerce operations. New York Times Co. acquired consumer guide Wirecutter in 2016 and recently put the publication behind a paywall. BuzzFeed Inc., which was among the first publishing companies to develop e-commerce offerings, recently started selling products directly from a website called BuzzFeed Shopping.
Commerce can provide a new revenue stream for publishers looking to diversify away from the uncertain advertising market. Some outlets, including the Wirecutter, have pursued an “affiliate” model, in which they get a cut of revenue when consumers click links in their reviews to purchase products through certain retailers.
Commerce can also create a window into consumer behavior, yielding valuable information for advertisers looking to target specific types of users.
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Appeared in the December 10, 2021, print edition as ‘Journal to Launch Commerce Venture.’