E-Commerce Portals Invest in Local Baby Sites
Four million babies are born in the U.S. every year. Hence the interest of two e-commerce portals in local baby sites. Just last week, UrbanBaby.com, an e-mail-oriented baby-care tip sheet, was sold to CNET, and LilaGuides, a print-oriented local baby guide that features user reviews, was sold to The Knot, the marriage-oriented e-commerce portal.
UrbanBaby is currently in seven markets, with a special emphasis on New York City. But it has plans on the drawing boards to enter 19 more. LilaGuides sells its pocket-sized print guides for 23 markets, and has collected 32,000 Zagat-style reviews in those markets. The guides list for $16.95 but are provided for free in many markets if parents submit 10-plus reviews. While LilaGuides only uses online to collect reviews, it expects to ramp up its online platform.
Both sites feature local content but haven't really established local sales channels. With deeper pockets, and possible integration into existing content — The Knot has city/regional guides in key U.S. markets — we'd expect to see both partner with local media and commerce companies to fully leverage the local component.
The Knot's interest in a baby site makes sense to me. It is a logical extension. What CNET is ultimately going to do with a baby site past tech reviews of baby monitors, however, is kind of confounding.