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I know a lot of us use the Ning social media platform to run our automotive communities. What impact do you think Glam's purchase will have on you?
Glam Media, a women-focused online content and advertising company, has acquired social network creator Ning, in a large advertising and online media tie-up. Financial terms were not disclosed. The combined reach of the two companies is about 240 million unique visitors.
Marc Andreessen, co-founder of venture firm Andreessen Horowitz and co-founder of Ning, is joining Glam’s board of directors. Andreessen is also on the board of the largest social network, Facebook.
For Glam, acquiring Ning provides a place for its authors (and publishers) to create their own websites and social networks. “When we talked to our publishers and journalists, they said, ‘Please help us with content-as-a-platform and social-as-a-platform,’” said Samir Arora, CEO of Glam Media, “It’s not just enough to write a blog or article. It’s about communicating and managing comments and fans.”
Instead of building a social platform themselves Glam decided to talk with Ning, Arora says. Glam had recently launched a new content management service called Glam Create and a social service called Glam Connect, which will presumably connect with Ning.
For Ning, which last year switched to a paid model for its customized social networks, working with Glam gives the company immediate connections with brand advertisers–up until now its focus has been revenue from subscriptions. “From our earliest days of Ning, the vision from the get-go was to build a broad based vertical social paltfom and connect our Ning creators with premium brand advertising,” says Jason Rosenthal, Ning CEO, who will join Glam as executive vice president of social media & general manager of Ning. Now Ning social network creators will have more options for monetization.
While they are different companies, Ning and Glam are similar in that they both target the media model of large broad portals such as Yahoo by instead providing vertical or niche businesses for a variety of interests. Glam has a large “long tail” of people monetizing online, Arora says. For example Glam has three authors who made more than $1 million this year, he says. Some web sites already use both Glam and Ning, such as My Modern Metropolis and Social Moms.
Founded in 2005, Glam now has more than 2,500 publishers and 4,000 authors on its platform. The company, which started out focusing on women but now has a wide range of sites, also has more than 1,000 brand advertisers and more than 85 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S. and more than 200 million worldwide.
Ning was founded in 2004 as a way for people to create their own free customized social networks. The company later ran into trouble with its free model and switched to a paid-only model. Since 2010, paying customers have increased from 17,000 to more than 100,000 and revenue has increased by 500%, the company says. Ning has more than 100 million registered users and 60 million monthly unique visitors. In June Ning added a paid access service. Using the service, customers who have a Ning website can charge for its users to access the entire website or just particular section of it.
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