Alloy Builds Out Teen Network

NEW YORK Alloy Media + Marketing is looking to use its 15 years of experience in the teen market to launch an ad network.

Alloy has struck a deal with IAC to sell advertising for Zwinky, its teen-focused virtual world that draws about 7.5 million users a month. Its online ad network includes Alloy.com, virtual environment Habbo Hotel, avatar social site Meez and widget maker RockYou. In all, Alloy’s network boasts a reach of 17 million users, with more deals on the way for advertisers to reach 13-to-19-year-olds.

The New York company joins a long list of companies trying their hands at vertical ad networks, which promise advertisers the ability to reach niche audiences scattered across many sites with a single buy. They have expanded into such categories as travel, autos, entertainment and fashion. Even established media brands are looking to construct networks to extend the reach they can offer advertisers. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, for example, recently launched a network of lifestyle sites.

“This is about us deciding strategically that we’re going to exponentially get more aggressive with this business and try to create an overwhelming force in the teen market to attract the best sites, partners and ad dollars that want to connect with this young audience,” said Derek White, evp at Alloy.

White said the Teen.com network, as Alloy is calling it, would differ from the others by focusing mostly on high-quality sites and deep integration, rather than gathering reach through dozens of blogs.

“We’re trying to go after this strategically, and much more of a quality over quantity approach,” he said.

Like other networks, Alloy is combining its own properties with third-party sites. Its network sells advertising on teen community Alloy.com, action sports site CCS.com and online style stop Delias.com. It shares ownership of those properties after spinning them off in 2005 under the Delia’s name.

For Zwinky, a partner like Alloy will allow the property to focus on product development and user experience, according to Michael Primiani, vp of strategic revenue and product operations at Zwinky. Even with the support of a large organization like IAC, the domain expertise Alloy brings is key, he said.

“They have relationships with key advertisers and key agencies within this demographic,” he said. “And they have experience in fleshing out what is meaningful to those advertisers.”