Dotdash Makes Bold Move With Amazon-Exclusive Paint Line

Amazon is primed to splash some color on a new product category: paint.

But rather than slap on its own private label, home improvement site The Spruce lent its name and home décor expertise, selecting and naming the 32 colors of paint. Paint manufacturer KILZ produced the line.

KILZ and Amazon first approached the digital media brand a year ago to help launch the millennial-focused paint line, called The Spruce Best Home.

”The paint company and Amazon got together, and said there is a market here, and they needed a partner to do it. And that was us,” said Neil Vogel, CEO of The Spruce’s publisher, Dotdash.

Best Home is the first product co-created by Dotdash, and it took over a year for its commerce team to get off the ground – from contracts to picking out the colors to designing the paint labels.

The Spruce used data about its content as well as input from its editorial team to inspire the line.

For example, chalk and matte paint finishes are on trend among young home decorators, so those styles were included in addition to the more traditional eggshell and semigloss finishes. And The Spruce’s team advocated for small paint can sizes, which allow people to refinish furniture and tackle smaller DIY projects.

The Spruce’s colors also speak to its millennial audience – with options like cold brew, matcha and electric kumquat.

The result of all this work will be evident beginning this Friday, when people searching for paint on Amazon can find one of Best Home’s 32 colors.

Besides providing its audience experise, The Spruce is a marketing channel, providing access to its audience of 30 million monthly uniques. Amazon distributes, and KILZ has the chops to manufacture a high-quality paint.

Each company will contribute its own marketing, and The Spruce will include some offline marketing as part of the paint launch.

It’s unclear how Amazon views this product. The ecommerce giant has a reputation for promoting its own private label brands above its competitors’ brands – though it hasn’t publicly said that’s the strategy here. Vogel couldn’t say if Amazon would promote the brand as one of its house brands, which often get valuable real estate during the shopping process.

Vogel plans to achieve three things as Dotdash expands into physical products.

First, Dotdash can build up The Spruce brand. “If people can experience a product that is great, they are going to be loyal,” he said.

Second, there’s more revenue in product creation than affiliate marketing – though Vogel couldn’t get into details.

“If our name is on it, the economics are better,” he said.

Third, product integrations can serve readers and help Dotdash’s already healthy bottom line. IAC projects Dotdash will make $150 million this year, including $35 million in EBITDA, Vogel said.

“We are trying to do smart things that our audience likes and helps them,” he said.

While Dotdash will recommend its paint line in articles and point readers to the products via affiliate links, Dotdash will continue to recommend rival paint brands in its articles. And Vogel doesn’t expect its own product line to conflict with any advertising partnerships with home or paint brands. “We are going to send people to whatever is right for them,” he said.

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