Glam Media is a women-focused distributed media network that represents and packages content from over 400 sources including fashion blogs, websites and magazines. Along with Glam.com, its flagship, it brings together content relevant to women while giving advertisers an efficient access to fragmented inventory. It is one of the companies we covered earlier in Women & Web 3.0.
Co-founded in 2003 by Samir Arora, Raj Narayan, Fernando Ruarte and Dianna Mullins, the company aims at dominating the market for online advertising for women. Glam Evolution is their ad serving platform.
In November 2007, Lifetime Television partnered with Glam Media to use its vertical network and soon re-launched its website myLifetime.com. Lifetime would use Glam Media’s aggregated content for a ‘Beauty and Style’ channel on its website, while Glam media would use broadband video, interactive media to enhance its content.
Recently, Glam has also announced a Lifestyle focused initiative in direct competition with Martha Stewart, one of the biggest names in lifestyle media.
Glam makes money selling ads both on its own site and partner sites. Glam claims to attract a CPM of $20-25 and keeps 40-50% of the revenues from advertising on partner sites. It has attracted marquee advertisers such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman among fashion retailers, as well as designer brands such as Rebecca Taylor & BCBG Max Azria. Other advertisers include Victoria’s Secret, H&M, Nike, Max Factor and Lacoste. Glam’s chief competitor is iVillage, one of the oldest women’s online media companies that was acquired by NBC. iVillage also has a vertical ad network powered by Adify.
Glam has recently raised $85 million in financing, with $20 million in debt and $65 million in equity from Hubert Burda Media, GLG Partners, Duff Ackerman & Goodrich and Hercules Technology Growth Capital among others and is apparently valued at half a billion. It plans to use the funds for acquiring advertising technology, other sites and expanding its global operations. The new financing comes on top of the $30 Million it had raised in 3 rounds earlier from Accel Partners, DFJ, and others.
According to Alexa rankings, the three month average for glam.com is 8,512. The site gets 2.8 Million unique visitors a month, according to Quantcast. The visits per month are estimated to be 4.9 Million. Besides its own site, the Glam vertical network encompasses 400 other publishers, close to 45 Million monthly unique visitors and almost a Billion monthly page views. Though the company lost around $3.7 million in 2007, the projected revenues for 2008 are $150 million with $40 million in profit.
Glam is believed to be luring away publishers from other networks like Martha Stewart and iVillage (both powered by Adify) with hefty “guarantees,” a practice that ad networks often use to win the rights to represent interesting publishers. Google paid such a “guarantee” of $900 Million to News Corp. to earn the rights to represent MySpace, but has since had limited success in monetizing MySpace.
In the end, Glam’s revenue projections are just as vulnerable to “defections” as those of its competitors. If it can continue to deliver high CPM ads to its publishers, they would stay, if not, they would leave. What’s encouraging for publishers in the women’s vertical is that the ad networks have ramped up to a level where there is plenty of competitive forces at play. So, as Glam fights iVillage and Martha Stewart, it is the publishers who stand to gain!
Glam’s opportunity to become a major force in the fashion and lifestyle vertical is well beyond its current media focus. To harness the full opportunity, it should look into a full-fledged web 3.0 strategy that includes commerce, personalization, and vertical search to add to its content and community oriented offering. In fact, an excellent acquisition for Glam would be its partner site, TheFind.com which offers vertical search for lifestyle products.
In general, fashion and lifestyle is a backwaters category as far as technology is concerned. Glam has done a more than decent job in creating a seat for itself at the fashion table.
Can it go farther? Time will tell!
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2008