IQ News: Online Partners Seeks To Corner Gay Marketplace

Former rival online communities and Gay.Net joined forces to form Online Partners, an affinity group marketing firm targeting gay consumers via the Net. Network launches today, merging the two sites, the first of several products the firm hopes to sell to advertisers seeking entry into gay markets.
To this end, San Francisco-based Online Partners also acquired a minority stake in OnQ, the gay and lesbian anchor tenant on America Online. Network will provide exclusive content to OnQ, which becomes the largest source of gay and lesbian content, according to Online Partners.
Andrew Cramer, chairman and CEO of Online Partners, said there is “more myth than fact” about gay-targeted marketing. Online Partners will host seminars beginning in May to educate advertisers and businesses on speaking to the interests of gay and lesbian consumers.”There are a lot of misconceptions about how to get to this market,” said Cramer. “We hope to educate people and examine some stereotypes.”
The Network offers news and entertainment pertinent to the community. Services on the site are free, including a new customizable homepage that gives access to free e-mail and personalized chat. Members can also upgrade to the premium service, for $9.95 per month.
Mark Elderkin, president and COO at Online Partners, cited the affluence and brand loyalty of the gay audience as reasons advertisers should take notice. “We’re proving that finding your audience and selling to them works,” he said.