Getting Glam

Famous for its female-centric sites, Glam now has bigger dreams—maybe even an IPO

Skype and Schwinn have signed on as Tend’s launch sponsors. Lori Peters, Schwinn’s director of consumer activation for North America, points to both brands’ female target, notably moms with active lifestyles. While Schwinn’s customer base is largely consumers under 18, Peters notes, moms are responsible for most of those purchases, adding that Glam is also putting together a focus group to inform Schwinn’s product development and marketing. “We’ve just started really driving a very broad-based consumer insights program around the more opportunities we have to do that and the more data we can glean through opportunities like Tend is fantastic,” she says.

Backed with a network of more than 100 editors and writers from sites like Modern Day Moms, Once A Month Mom and MOMfinds, Glam projects that Tend’s network will deliver in excess of 20 million visitors at launch. How many will visit the domain remains a question. A look at traffic numbers for Glam’s other owned-and-operated sites may temper expectations. As noted, Brash has struggled to keep monthly domestic visitors in the low-to-mid six figures, while Bliss delivered just 304,000 uniques in the U.S. in the month of February. Meanwhile, itself has endured ups and downs in visitors throughout the second half of last year, hitting 1.2 million U.S. uniques in July before dropping to 529,000 in August and then climbing back to 1.5 million by February of this year.

That roller-coaster trend underscores a central reason Glam, whose audiences are distributed so broadly, is seen as an ad network. Foodie and Tend are attempts to consolidate that audience around a central hub, the assumption being that consumers would rather spend time on social networks like Facebook—and now, Pinterest—rather than portals like AOL and Yahoo because of the interactivity that social adds. With that in mind, Schwinn will sponsor content on Tend dedicated to family fun. But Glam still has to answer to advertisers that would rather reach Tend’s audience across the network—even as they may question the effectiveness of that reach.

Deanna Brown, CEO of Glam rival Federated Media, says it is possible that broader verticals will dilute the relevancy of a marketer’s message. Federated offers what it calls “conversation targeting” so ads can be served according to keywords on a page’s content. “They’re selling audiences; we’re selling context,” says Brown, referring to Glam and other players like NetShelter and iVillage.

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