Glam Media Aiming at Brands With New Model

Blog network also introduces health vertical

Glam Media built a big collection of online blogs aimed at women on the premise that by serving up high-quality content, it could appeal to brand advertisers who have shunned lower cost ad networks. The company appears to have had the right idea; launched in 2005, it now claims some 2,500 affiliate publishers and a reach of 94 million monthly unique visitors, making it the eighth biggest Web property.

But even that approach may have its limits. So now, Glam is rolling out a new model that it says will give it more control over its content and the surrounding environment, thereby creating a safer environment for advertisers.

Under Glam 2.0, as it’s called, contributors will publish to a new content management platform that Samir Arora, Glam’s chairman and CEO, says will make it easier for Glam to package that content and create special sections for advertisers.

“We’ll be able to more tightly manage editorial by being on the same platform,” Arora said. “We’ll start to feel like an AP or Reuters.”

The model is launching with Bliss, a newly announced health and wellness vertical. Its channels will include Health, Wellness and Family & Moms. Bliss has signed 100 contributors including EmpowHer, MyFitnessPal, and YourTango, and is targeting a reach of 11 million uniques.

Around 300 authors have already moved over to Glam 2.0, according to the company. But its goal is to have 1,000 of its 4,000 authors sign on.

Getting there will require a big change for Glam’s many staunchly independent publishers. Under Glam’s model, the company sells ads across the network and shares the revenue with its contributors, who syndicate their content to the network. But contributors who opt to join Glam 2.0 will cede ownership of their content. And as Glam assumes more of the publishing costs, it may compensate its contributors less.

Arora’s pitch is that the new platform is more advanced than what most of its contributors are used to, and that it’ll include social networking features and tools that let them chart their content’s popularity. (He said Glam wouldn’t start dictating what contributors produce, but that he expected contributors to use the data.)

“As a business model, it is a fairly large evolution for us,” he said.