Mail Online 'gives something back to the reader' by offering links to retailers in editorial

Mail Online has begun a trial of a system that connects readers of its editorial content with online retailers.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the move is being piloted as a means to increase revenue from the site, particularly through its fashion and celebrity coverage.

The scheme will link from stories to retailers selling clothes or other fashion items featured in the stories. Last month, a story about Kate Middleton was accompanied by several links, allowing readers to buy the dress she was wearing. The dress sold out within an hour, said the FT.

Through the marketing initiative, Mail Online receives 10 to 14 per cent of the purchase price of any item bought through a link on the site. Mel Scott, Mail Online’s commercial director, told the FT that the site had signed deals with 90 to 95 per cent of high street retailers.

She added: “The feeling was that we wanted to give something back to the reader, who was asking us: ‘Where does Amanda Holden’s silver skirt come from?’ We will make affiliate revenue around it but the editorial integrity will be absolutely key.

“We have had massive click throughs to look at the product and massive click throughs into the suggested products.”

Mail Online reported a 61 per cent increase in revenue to £20m for the six months to the end of March this year.

But despite being the most popular newspaper website in the world, its revenue remains tiny compared to that of its print sister titles which together achieved turnover of £287m in the same period.

In May 2013, Mail Online achieved its biggest ever monthly traffic total with 129m unique browsers worldwide (according to ABC).

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