Glam launches Brash, a content and ad network for men

Updated: The site has launched.

Glam Media, a content and ad network focused mostly on woman, is apparently about to launch a network focused on men called Brash.com, something we’d expected after reporting on early rumors last month.

The site has a message saying “coming soon” (see left). The effort comes at a time when analysts and investors are watching the online ad industry closely to see if it will remain resilient even as the economy takes a beating, or whether it will decline and wreak havoc on hundreds if not thousands of online publishers that have become dependent on the advertising for their livelihood.

Of all companies betting on a robust ad economy, Glam and its investors are making one of the biggest. In February, the company raised $84.6 million in a deal that valued Glam at a half billion dollars, from large German publishing company Burda and several Silicon Valley companies. Glam continues to roll out new channels and properties. It recently launched a Luxury channel, a gutsy move considering most consumers are likely to be tightening their belts right now. Signing up enough advertisers to keep these properties afloat is now Glam’s big challenge.

The world is divided into two camps, one sanguine and one pessimistic. Most experts and analysts still belong to the first one. This camp says online advertising will continue to grow, because more readers are still moving online and because online offers advertisers an easier way to track the return on investment. This camp says growth will be in the low single digits a year, instead of double digits they’d predicted before the sharp drop in the market earlier this month. However, even in this camp, most people say search advertising is likely to be the stronger category because of its superior accountability. Glam relies on display advertising. Most people say display will have to develop tracking and targeting tools before it can remain robust, and that’s something Glam says it’s working hard to do — for example, allowing advertisers to target things like the time of day a user is online, gender, and category of interest.

Update: For its launch today (Monday), Brash.com has signed up sites like DigitalTrends.com, InGameNow and SeriousWheels.com for its network. In addition, Time.com, CNET, SB Nation, TheCarConnection.com, and Rolling Stone have joined as content partners, apparently to exploit the advertising Brash.com will funnel to them. Unilever’s Axe, H&M and HP Headline will be providing some of the advertising, according to Glam’s announcement of the deal.

Brash targets men 18-49 years old. Glam says Brash’s network reaches nearly 10 million US unique visitors a month, with help from the partners it has signed. The Brash Network launches with five channels: Men’s Lifestyle (Style, Fitness, Travel, Food & Drink), Entertainment (Music, Movies, TV, Games), Tech (Audio, Gadgets, PC & Macs), Auto (Luxury, Sport, SUV, and Sedans) and News (World, US, Politics & Tech).

ComScore statistics show that Glam reaches more than 52 million unique users, making it a top-ten web property, the company said. However, that obviously takes into account all the pages that Glam serves ads to and thus includes pages of sites that Glam does not directly own.