Christine Mielke, CEO and Founder

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Helping 87 million people express themselves through makeup

Christine Mielke didn't start wearing makeup until college, "I wasn't allowed to wear it growing up," she recalls, "but in college I really started exploring and it became a passion." After trying dozens of products and writing reviews of her favorites, Christine wanted a single space to house her passion project, so in 2006 she launched the website Temptalia.com. "1-2 years into my site," she explains, "MAC Cosmetics reached out to me looking to partner on a project, and a light bulb went off in my mind immediately that this could be more than a hobby – this could be a business."

Building a data-driven beauty blog

As a first step, Christine started monetizing the site with Google AdSense to earn ad revenue. "My boyfriend at the time, now husband, introduced me to AdSense," she says, "and it was really the gold standard for running ads quickly and efficiently, so that's where I started." Soon Christine was earning enough money from ads that she contemplated pursuing this full time. "I was pursuing a J.D./MBA, and seeing a lot of my classmates go on to corporate jobs, but I loved working on Temptalia and was making enough money that it was a really viable career path." With the support and guidance of her entrepreneurial mother, Christine took the leap. "My mom said to me, 'You're making money, paying the bills, you should try out this business and see how it goes.' The rest is history!"

70,000+ makeup swatches, 30,000+ reviews, and 87 million unique visitors later, Christine has built a thriving business with Temptalia. "We've always used our ad revenue to reinvest in the development of the site, which is a huge differentiator for us," she explains. "Even though Temptalia is a beauty blog, it's supported by a database of thousands of products with features driven by algorithms that people can use to dive into new products, play with combinations, and explore new brands." Temptalia is famous in the beauty world for their Foundation Matrix, Dupe List, and other shopping comparison tools that help readers find the right makeup shades for them. And the tools have all been built in-house by Christine and her family. "At first, my husband helped me with the site development," she says, "but once he got sick of makeup my brother-in-law joined the team, and he does all the coding and development now."

“We've always used our ad revenue to reinvest in the development of the site, which is a huge differentiator for us.”
Exploring ad revenue options

As the business grew, Christine pursued a variety of ad revenue solutions. "We've run the gamut in terms of advertising solutions," she says. "We started with AdSense, then as more ad networks started popping up we went to Glam Media and used Google Ad Exchange as backfill. Eventually, Glam Media went bankrupt and we chose Google Ad Manager as our next ad server. For me, Ad Manager was always the most complete and easiest platform to ramp up on - there are a lot of tutorials that can help you get set up. I just moved my inventory over and it was easy and fast."

Now Christine uses a combination of ad revenue and affiliate marketing to earn money from her website, a revenue model that she chose to help keep her content free to access. "It's really hard to convince people to pay for content because they can get it for free somewhere else," she says "So for me, to maintain my traffic and support my audience, it makes more sense to make content as accessible as it can be and use ad revenue to support the business."

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Building for the future of makeup

To make strategic content decisions, Christine uses Google Analytics. "We use Analytics to understand who's on the site, what they're looking for, what content is popular, how people are accessing it, and determine priority brands to cover. Analytics helps us learn more about what people want and what's resonating." And hearing what's resonating with her audience is one of the most rewarding parts of her job. "I love engaging with readers in comments or on social media," she says. "Helping people buy better products, be happier in their purchases, and feel confident inside and out gives me a lot of joy in my job."

As for the future of Temptalia, "we're focused on continuing to do what we do best," says Christine. "We'll continue to deliver clear, quality information with honest, unbiased reviews and build new tools and features to help shoppers make smarter makeup decisions."

About the Publisher

Christine Mielke is the founder and editor-in-chief of Temptalia.com, a popular beauty blog, and has been reviewing beauty products for over 15 years and has earned a reputation for honesty, transparency, and unbiased information within the beauty community. She was named one of WWD's Top 50 Most Influential People in Beauty. In her free time, Christine enjoys spending time with her family, doing jigsaw puzzles, and cuddling with her dog, Winnie, the cutest yellow labrador you'll ever meet, while watching Bake Off.