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Thrillist co-founder Ben Lerer isn't afraid to brag when talking about the email newsletter he built and expanded into a $100 million business over the past nine years. In fact, as he explained to Wired, he believes that the content-and-commerce hybrid model is the only one that will work when it comes to taking online media companies seriously.
"You have an audience of people who are captive, who you have built trust with, who you create content for, who you understand," Lerer told Wired. "Instead of just helping the other brands sell them products, you sell products to those people yourself. It makes perfect sense."
Lerer boasts that Thrillist brought in more revenue than 27 other online media companies, including The Onion and Business Insider. Such a concept doesn't come without risk—Refinery29, DailyCandy, and others have tried and failed to incorporate commerce into their companies—but that hasn't deterred Lerer. After Thrillist acquired men's e-commerce site JackThreads, the company's revenue went through the roof, and now counts for 80% of overall revenue.
The company has over one million credit cards on file and JackThreads will deliver over two million packages this year alone. In Lerer's words, "We own millennial dudes in a way that no other media company does." He shows no signs of slowing down either: Lerer told an audience at a SXSW talk in March that he plans to build Thrillist into a $1 billion business.
· The Newsletter That Became a $100M Business Selling Stuff to Dudes [Wired]
· What the Team at Thrillist Wears to Work [Racked]
· Lucky Spin-Off Underscores Condé Nast's Tech Weaknesses [Racked]