RealTime IT News

StarMedia, L'Oreal Launch Portal for Spanish-Speaking Women

In a move to expand its audience, increase its revenue base, and reach out to Latina women in North America as well as Latin America, StarMedia Network Wednesday took the wraps off Cadamujer.com, a portal for Latin American women.

The new venture is being launched in a joint marketing venture with L'Oreal, which will put the Cadamujer.com URL on product packages in regions where the site is available.

The site launched Wednesday in Mexico, but according to StarMedia (STRM) founder and CEO Fernando Espuelas the plan is to roll it out quickly not just in Brazil and other large Latin American markets but also in the United States. Although StarMedia has been quiet about targeting the Spanish-speaking market here, in fact, the US is the company's third largest market after Mexico and Brazil, Espuelas told atNewYork.com.

The launch of Cadamujer.com, which translated means "every woman," in conjunction with L'Oreal comes just two weeks after iVillage and another packaged goods company -- the giant Unilever -- announced plans to launch a product and e-commerce driven joint venture portal for women to sell health and beauty products.

"Speaking generally, I think a lot of these traditional packaged goods companies that have been so successful across the world for decades know that the Internet is going to become more crucial to how they market to their consumers," said Espuelas. That's why many of them are partnering with online players that already have technology, production, sales staff, and traffic already in place.

"This is where you start to see a leveraging effect of being the first mover," said Espuelas.

But joint marketing ventures like L'Oreal always raise red flags. How independent will the site's content be with L'Oreal as a partner? And will other cosmetics companies want to advertise on a site closely aligned with L'Oreal? Espuelas declined to be specific about the financial arrangement behind Cadamujer.com but he said it would be editorial independent and would have a wide range of advertisers.

Unlike a recently created ISP service, which will be a separate company part owned by StarMedia, Cadamujer.com will be wholly part of the StarMedia network of sites. To date most of StarMedia's service additions have been simple portal functionality additions -- Web pages e-mail, homepage building, and the like. But recently the company has been rolling up local city guides sites in Latin America. Now the launch of Cadamujer.com marks the company's expansion into demographic-driven verticals.

"We think there's space for a very focused product approach," said Espuelas. "For us to add markets is just a matter of adding relevant content. We have the systems in place."