StarMedia Network, L'Oreal Launch Women's Site

SAN FRANCISCO (03/09/2000) - Latin American portal company StarMedia Network is targeting "every woman" - or at least women who speak Spanish and Portuguese - in a new site dubbed Cadamujer.com. StarMedia has signed a multimillion-dollar, multiyear agreement with cosmetics giant L'Oreal to promote Cadamujer.com in traditional ways - and by printing the Web address on shampoo, eyeliner and other products L'Oreal sells in Latin America.

"It's the first time we've partnered this way with a major international company," says StarMedia Network Chairman and CEO Fernando Espuelas. "They're the leading company in Latin America in terms of women's brands." Despite the partnership, the site will remain brand-neutral, Espuelas assures. L'Oreal will have no editorial control, although the company may provide some general health-related information, he adds. "This is not a disguised L'Oreal Web site with another name. This is truly a powerful tool for women."

Espuelas touts the community-building aspects of Cadamujer.com. "For Latin America, this is a big deal," he says, "because women have been a largely disenfranchised group in Latin America." L'Oreal shares StarMedia's "mission of empowering Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking audiences by providing women with a reason and a place to go online to exchange ideas, purchase products and access information relevant to their lives," Espuelas says. Like StarMedia's main portal, Cadamujer.com will include country-specific content, launching first in Mexico in conjunction with International Women's Day on Wednesday, followed by Brazil, Argentina, the U.S. and other markets.

Content will come from up to 150 alliances StarMedia has with local and regional content providers. In addition to e-mail and chat, Cadamujer.com will offer articles and features on subjects like long-distance seduction and compulsive shopping on its love-and-partners page; "Four Clinical Tests that Can Save Your Life" in its health area; a piece on New York's sex museum under current events; asking for a raise in the career section; and other sections related to beauty, style and family. Espuelas says that with Cadamujer.com, he is targeting 51 percent of the world's population, including about 6 million women online in Latin America, according to a study from Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi.

However, only 25 percent of StarMedia's current users are women, according to a company spokeswoman. It's still not clear how sustainable a women's site targeting Latin America will be, particularly in a region where computer users are slower to get online than in the U.S. Two sites are battling for dominance in the U.S. market - iVillage.com, which has a market capitalization of $734.7 million and whose stock closed at 24.88 Tuesday, and Women.com, with a market cap of $650.6 million and stock closing at 14.25.

StarMedia has led the charge into Latin America with its StarMedia sites.

Founded in 1996, it has operations in nine Latin America countries and the U.S. and partnerships with Reuters, eBay, Hearst Communications and numerous other companies. In addition to the country-specific sites in the StarMedia Network, StarMedia's LatinRed, or Latin Network in English, offers vertical sites for e-mail, chat, greeting cards and homepages.

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