Women-focused media site Glam launches developer network

What does a Facebook just for women look like?

Well, if you look closely enough, women-focused media site Glam is is taking on more appearances of that — only without the user profile part.

Indeed, taking a leaf from the success of Facebook, Glam has just unveiled its own “platform” to allow developers to build applications to serve Glam’s claimed 77 million monthly unique readers. It is code-named “Atako,” and will let developers of applications share in revenue generated when their apps are used by Glam’s users.

Glam has seen rocketing growth lately, but continues to lurch from initiative to initiative as it tries to identify itself.

It emerged two years by owning some style, clothing and other types of content catering to women. Glam then caught the wave of change in the advertising industry, by creating an ad network around the content — and then by serving ads to other small blogs and other third-party publishers that joined Glam’s network.

So what’s with the developer’s network? Chief executive Samir Arora (left) has asserted recently that he thinks social networks by themselves haven’t created real value for advertisers. He insists brand advertisers are still looking for quality content, and so several months ago gave up the idea of trying to build a stand-alone social network for women.

However, at the same time, he’s clearly trying to borrow some of the most powerful concepts from Facebook, YouTube and other Web 2.0 sites. He’s launched features that allow people to rate content, for example — with best content getting shipped around the network so member publishers can show it to their readers.

The developers network is the latest move. However, unlike Facebook, which lets developers keep all their money, Glam is demanding a revenue share.

In this sense, Glam’s platform looks like a cross between Apple and its iPhone application store, and Facebook.

Glam even has its own “Glam Apps Store.” The open-source platform has a built-in system for monetization. Apps in the store can be embedded or downloaded, and will carry ads provided by Glam or the developer directly, or a third-party agency. Or they can be distributed with no ads, or sold at a price. Glam has built a widget to allow publishers to access these apps easily.

Is this all a big deal? Well, it’s certainly no Facebook. There’s not as much networking going on at Glam — not by a stretch. The viral marketing of applications that drove developers into a frenzy on Facebook just doesn’t apply here. Every large web site these days is borrowing the buzzword “platform,” and in most cases developers won’t care. Opening standards will increasingly let them develop their apps once, and have it distributed anywhere. However, by opening its pages easily for access, Glam is pushing forward best practices quickly, and so it’s a smart move. It showcases that Glam remains a Valley-based technology company, as much as a New York media company (it has dual headquarters) — and this gives it an advantage over its competitors.

Developers can control the distribution of their apps — allowing them distribution across the entire Glam network, or limiting them to specific member publishers, or even opening them up to all Web users with no restrictions.

An early example of such an app is GlamTV, which let publishers embed video in their sites and which was accompanied by brand advertising. Revenues are shared between publisher, video provider and/or content owner.

The platform is available in private beta to approved developers and select publishers, and will be opened to general availability in fall 2008.

Glam has blitzed a series of other moves lately — mostly efforts to use brand advertising to fill space on the sites of publishers:

–Last week, Glam launched a daily email newsletter featuring content from its 500 member sites — accompanied, of course, by the company’s ads.

–Last week, it announced the launch of Glam Germany, as a joint venture with the the large German publisher, Burda, with the acquisiion of local media sales firm Codex Media.

–Last week, it also announced it had taken over ad sales for the Womensforum.com, a women’s networks with more than 40 sites and more than 6.7M unique visitors (according to ComScore). WF gives Glam 6.7 million more people, so that it can keep boasting it is the largest women’s network.

–Two weeks ago, it expanded Glam Evolution, a way for publishers to assert more control over their remnant ad space by running ads from a Glam-hosted ad exchange, called GlamX Ad Exchange. Advertisers can use the exchange to run their brand advertising at lower prices, circa $5 to $10 CPM — using targeting methods (demographics, time of day, etc). Publishers can set their minimum price. Glam argues it competes with Tacoda pricing, but beats out other networks, such as Google’s DoubleClick, and Yahoo’s RightMedia (see diagram at bottom).

Disclosure: VentureBeat’s business manager is related to a co-founder of Glam.


VentureBeat is studying mobile marketing automation. Chime in, and we’ll share the data.