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Web 2.0 and the Cosmetic Industry

By: Randy Schueller and Perry Romanowski
Posted: August 28, 2008, from the February 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

If you are surfing the Internet for cosmetic science innovations, you may be looking in the wrong place. Most of those in the industry are aware of the excellent technical resources available online for cosmetic science. The list is a long one and includes Web sites run by the CTFA, FDA, Allured Publishing and innumerable suppliers who have strong Web presence. But if you are looking for what’s next, what’s new, what’s never been done … then you need to start exploring the Web 2.0. This new Internet features grassroots, community-built resources that can provide insight and innovation to cosmetic scientists and marketers. This article explains how to tap into four favorites: blogs, media sharing sites, forums and shopping sites.

Blogs

A blog is a Web site in which content is added in chronological order. It is an online journal typically maintained by one or more people, known as bloggers. For various reasons, they freely provide opinion and commentary on almost any subject imaginable. Sophisticated bloggers will blend text, images and links to relevant Web sites to create an engaging experience for their readers. Some bloggers have even moved beyond text to include video and audio in their presentations. The most popular sites for starting a free blog are blogger.com or wordpress.com.

For people in the cosmetic industry, blogs can be a great source for information. An individual can access information such as product evaluations, consumer insights, new trends and even new product ideas. Of course, this type of research is no substitute for true, quantified market research, but it can be helpful in gaining unique insights. Would you like to know what consumers might think of your product without paying for an expensive study? Try sending samples to a blogger. They will use the product and then write a review for their entire reading community to see.

Some of these audiences are huge. A beauty blog such as Beauty Addict (beautyaddict.blogspot.com) gets more than 40,000 readers a month. It was started by Kristen Kelly, a writer living in New York, and has grown into a product opinion-making machine. Her self-described main qualification is that she is a little obsessed with makeup.

For a more international flair, look to the Jack & Hill blog (jackandhill.net). This is a joint blog written by Hillary Johnson, a former Los Angeles Times beauty writer, and Jackie Danicki, a beauty-obsessed American living in London. Both of these blogs have loyal readers who also participate in the daily conversation by leaving comments. It is fascinating and useful to read what people really think about cosmetics. The blog ranking service Technorati (technorati.com) lists almost 1,000 beauty blogs. To know what kinds of products people want and don’t want, beauty blogs are a great resource. Other blog areas to consider searching are science, marketing and innovation blogs. All of this free information is out there just waiting to be found.

Media Sharing Sites