December 26, 2000, 9:55 AM

Cooler than the arcade

Like a teenager’s overstuffed bedroom, Alloy.com is a head-on collision between content, community and merchandise-a teen paradise. What makes Alloy a high-traffic, well-respected site is that it weaves these elements together, says Jupiter Research Analyst Stacey Herron. This, she says, builds loyalty. Teens are great for chatting and browsing, but not so great for buying. However, they eventually get money and credit cards; it’s then that loyalty counts.

Alloy has also recognized that girls are more loyal than boys. “When you’re talking about targeting teens, it’s a gender game,” she says. Boys are more likely to go wherever they can to get what they want, and that’s usually games or game codes. Although Alloy says it is for both boys and girls, it is clearly girl oriented, Herron says.

With horoscopes, horoscopes for the stars, quizzes, chat rooms and advice columnists, Alloy is a teen magnet. Case in point: more than 98,000 teens took a survey to see if they are destined for fame; 276,000 took one to learn how good they are at flirting. There are hip, straightforward advice columns augmented by advice from other teens. And right in the middle of all this activity is retail. Links to other retail sites and prompts to shop at Alloy people almost every page.

But in the fickle teen market, Alloy will have to be watching its own belly button to make sure it stays in with the in crowd. Alloy will have to continue building loyalty, Herron says. More importantly, it will have to listen to its user base to stay on top of what it is into. In its present form, Alloy has not been around long enough to grow older than its users. But it will have to decide whether to follow Rolling Stone’s model of aging with its market or MTV’s model of reinventing itself every five years, she says.

Alloy.com

New York, N.Y.

Monthly Visitors: 313,000

Sales: $18.8 million Q 1 & 2

Went live: 1996

Design by: In-house

OS: Win 2000 & NT 4.0

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