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Women.com quickly closes online clothing store

Just three months after launching its e-tail program, the content site decides selling ads is a better way to generate revenues.

    Women.com Networks has quietly closed its online store for women's clothing and accessories, just three months after launching the e-tail site.

    Opened in November, She Gets Dressed represented the company's first move to carry inventory and sell directly to its customers.

    She Gets Dressed was an experiment, said Women.com founder and senior vice president Ellen Pack. "We felt our resources were better spent on our core business: supporting our core merchants and advertisers," Pack said.

    As the e-commerce market has grown, content sites such as Women.com have been itching to get a piece of the action and broaden their revenue streams beyond advertising. Go Network, for instance, recently announced a partnership with eBay to create a co-branded auction site. In another example, the New York Times and other online publishers earn referral fees from directing customers to e-commerce companies such as Barnesandnoble.com.

    But instead of adding to its revenues, Women.com found that its e-commerce site was detracting from its other revenue sources, Pack said. The banner ads the company ran to support She Gets Dressed took the place of ads that could have been sold to other merchants and advertisers, she said, and the company determined that its return on investment was higher by selling ads than selling products.

    Women.com also sells subscriptions to magazines such as Redbook, and earlier this week opened eHarlequin, an online bookstore that sells romance novels. Unlike She Gets Dressed, however, Women.com partner Harlequin Enterprises will handle the customer service and fulfillment of orders placed on eHarlequin.

    "We love this model," Pack said. "It's a tightly integrated partnership where they do what they do best and we do what we do best: driving traffic and sales."