Harlow Media

Monday, May 14, 2007

Glam: Your Life, Your Style

– New Style Portal for Web 2.0; New Style eZine
from http://www.glam.com/, at About Us page

2002: The Idea of Glam is born and starts to take shape. Esther Dyson, at PC Forum gives the founding push- "Well, don't just stand there talking about it - go make it happen."

The work on social networking starts - six degrees and small worlds and how what we love connects us.

Early work in social networking - Jerry Michalski is one of the pioneers that leads some of the discussions; the Clue Train by Doc Searls fuels the open source movement.

2003-2004: The founding team starts building the first version of Glam in a retro-modern Victorian Home ("The Painted Ladies of San Francisco") in the famous Haight-Ashbury district on a quiet tree-lined street called Downey in Cole Valley. Taking inspiration from the great Japanese Magazine revival (Magazine Designer Collective) and the social networking revolution taking root in the United States, a multi-industry team converges with a view of the future.

The team decides to focus on the emotional, aspirational feel of print magazines and their rich heritage as a model.The Glam team decides to focus on the contextual combination of content with brand advertising - this leads to the realization that the Web is still very young as a medium. In real life more than 83% of all purchases and 85% of all advertising is directed towards women - in 2004, women represented less than 50% of the total e-commerce spending on the Web.

In 2004, the team decided to focus on women as the initial primary customer!
The next decisions made were regarding the type of content/context and the type of advertisers to target. What was interesting was while we all want to Tivo the TV ads- glossy magazines had a very balanced content and brand advertising mix. In fact, the MPA numbers told us that the "mix" between content and advertising was a tight range and that print magazines represented 17% of total advertising.

There were several aha's from this - the Web represents about 4% of total advertising - mostly (more than 70%) search or direct. Network/Spot TV and brand print magazines represent the two largest mediums- at 18% and 17% respectively - with TV declining faster than magazines. As the Web grew, it seemed clear that there would be 3 types of advertising -


Glam decided to lead the revolution by building a media company that would bring brand advertising to the Web. The goal was to move brand advertising from the 17% in print and 18% in TV to the Web.

What we also liked about the magazine model was that the consumer self-selected the magazine and the mode they were in. It is not unusual to see someone pick up In Style, Vogue, US Weekly, Dwell, and Marie Claire- each of these is a unique combination of content, advertising, entertainment, and engagement. Our goal was to bring this level of context to the Web- by simply focusing on content by type - fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. The narrower we kept our focus, the better the context was for the consumer.

The third major decision we had to make was the level of focus - the experience of having helped launch the first generation of social networking was that while the page views were very high, the effective CPM's were very, very low. Looking deeper into this, it became clear that we needed to somehow separate the mode the consumer was in- directed search mode, content engagement, and utility (e-mail, messages, comments.) We found that in directed search and content engagement - having the right ads was a benefit, while in utility mode - they really were in the way. Think about the different reactions a user has if a Pepsi ad comes flying by when the user wants to check e-mail versus the reaction when an ad for a handbag appears when the user is reading about handbag trends. With this realization came the focus on advertising that needs to be in context to the page/story/article- and this set Glam completely apart from the other platforms. At launch, Glam had the top brand advertisers as a part of the basic experience - and continues to vigorously defend against not respecting the consumer's intelligence and time by serving "hit the monkey" ads.
This led to the next decision we had to make: What level of content and advertising should we focus on? Glam made the decision to help make fashion and style accessible and focus on the appropriate premium and luxury advertisers.

Lastly, the most difficult decision was to come just before launch: What kind of Media Company would we want to build? With the rapid increase in both the mid-sized publishers and the long tail of personal publishing and talkback, it did not make sense for us to build a new type of portal, that is repeating what the traditional media companies and the Web 1.0 models tried. Here came the hardest decision - the one that felt like jumping off a cliff - and accepting that control in itself was what actually needed to change.

Almost all media models we could find had the notion of control deeply imbedded in their core- editorial control, publishing control, distribution control. Here is where we found the biggest "cultural" divide- new media companies like MySpace, YouTube were glaring examples of what is truly happening in consumer media today - where the user is firmly in control. The problem we saw with this model was inherent in many Web 2.0 websites: great transformation and growth, but with unclear monetization. In fact, the more we spoke to the indie publishers, the more we heard that the current model simply did not work for them.

Here is a great link on this by Keith Teare: http://blog.edgeio.com/?p=57. In his terms, Glam would be one of the first websites that is building a media company focused on the rise of the foothills (indie publishers) and the growth of users visiting hundreds of websites, while many Web 2.0 companies are going after the flats in the long tail.

With this Glam started to build a platform that would bring it all together - a destination website with the best content from Glam Editors, major publishers like Hearst corporation, Magazines like Dwell and Nylon, the best indie publishers, and user-generated content. In the end, the focus was to build what users really want -the glossy top editors' picks AND content from the indie publishers' blogs AND to look at what other users are talking about.

And pulling it together is what Glam started to do: the first contextually focused new media company that is helping bring content and brand advertising together from different sources- major media companies, indie publishers, and consumers together with a hub that provides services to publishers and consumers.

Glam Media's Growth

comScore MediaMetrix Data (in thousands)

What is Glam Today:
Fastest growing Fashion & Entertainment Web Property

Exploded to over 90 Million Page Views, 35 Million Global Visitors, and an estimated over 8 Million Global Uniques and 3.8 Million US Uniques a month.

Entered Media Metrix Top 10 Women's Sites and Media Metrix Top 250 Properties within 10 months from launch. Also Media Metrix Top 10 Fastest growing Web properties in June, July, and August 2006.

High CPM Brand Advertising and Engaged Brand Campaigns.

First Web 2.0 Hub: Consumer Brand (Destination Site) and Network (Content and Ad Affiliates).


1. Glam is Number 1 in Fashion Online.

2. Glam is the first Web 2.0 Hub- bringing together Publishers, Advertisers, Consumers, and Content Syndicates.

3. Glam helps Top brand advertisers reach their target audiences online.

4. Glam is creating incredible interactive engagement online.

5. Glam has built a platform for contextual content and advertising.

The future is happening now - at Glam.com...

Major Publishers' Content: Print, Video and TV: The first network that helps you reach your audience, enables consumers to connect with your brand, and drives traffic to your websites. (Hearst Magazines, Dwell, Nylon)

Indie Publishers: If you have a website, blog, podcast, or video content targeting women in lifestyle, the Glam Network can help you join a branded network, monetize your sites, increase visibility, and provide network marketing. (Over 200 network affiliates)

Fashion and Style Users: With GlamSpace, users can build a profile, start a blog, upload photos, and share favorites. GlamSpace is also a great social network for editors, designers, store owners, fashion students, models, and people that love style. (Over 450,000 registered users)

Content Owners: Add your content to GlamCentral - the largest focused place where users can rate, comment, and talkback on all major sources for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content on the Web. (New York Magazine, Style.com)

Portals and Publishers: Syndicate Glam Media content to offer the best lifestyle articles and posts on the Web. (AOL/AIM Today, Yahoo)

Major Publisher Advertising: Offer cross-medium advertising to top brand advertisers, bringing the best of print, TV, and Internet together. (Cosmopolitan - Cosmo on Glam, Oxygen)

Web 2.0 Technology Companies: Build services in conjunction with Glam and Glam Network to reach a large audience. (FeedBurner, Slide, Meez)

Brand Advertisers: Reach and engage women 18 to 49 with the fastest growing new media company targeting women and lifestyle. (P&G, Neiman Marcus, Sony)

Entertainment Companies: Leverage the reach of Glam to launch new programming and behind-the-scene looks, and engage consumers with your brands. (ABC)

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