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Inside Lucky Magazine's LiveToBuy

LivebuyitReaders of Lucky Magazine will be able to pay for goods mentioned in that publication by text messaging, thanks to a new program co-developed by Conde Nast, PayPal and NY interactive shop Anomaly.

Sephora VP of Retail Marketing Allison Slater -- clearly not afraid of new marketing approaches -- joins Avon, Liz Claiborne, Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, Perry Ellis, Target and Unilever's Sunsilk haircare line in LiveBuyIt. This story, which broke in the July 10 NYTimes, mentions that the companies that participate are among those the companies that are buying a full-page color ad - currently $165,000 for the 1x rate.

Unlike Conde Nast's earlier ShopVogue.com initiative -- which I estimated brought in $1 million in additional ad revenues -- this new initiative takes two major risks: will people (1) buy using their mobile phones, and (2) will they do it via PayPal?

Earlier research shows that the average shopper conducts 13 searches before making a purchase. If this trial shows that a single mobile search eliminates the need for 12 more comparison searches over the web, this could be a major development for marketers.

Text2Buy, which was developed by Anomaly with PayPal, represents a much more sophisticated approach than previous interactive media added-value programs. LiveBuyIt is a much more focused approach than the Hearst Co's $10 million 30 Days of Shopping campaign, which is reportedly combining blogs, podcasts, text messaging and other interactive marketing vehicles to capture information on what people are buying. Lucky Magazine publisher Alexandra W. Golinkin hopes to launch a "Text To Try" program where shoppers purchase samples of advertised goods using micropayments.

Anomaly reportedly receives a percentage of sales from purchases made through Text2Buy (see previous coverage including processing fee breakdown). 

PayPal has to move fast. Incremental promotions with marketers like Burger King may be useful at selling penny-ante merchandise but do little to change the rules of the game. The advent of Google Checkout - illustrating eBay's increasingly limited growth upside, relative to more traditional businesses - may have already played a role in precipitating the resignation of eBay COO Brian Swette.

Link: MediaPost interview with Anomaly Chief Strategy Officer Mark Kaplan on the future convergence of mobile and mass marketing.

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