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Forbes.com launches ad network with new acquisitions

By Published on .

Buoyed by the addition of three recently acquired Web sites, Forbes.com introduced its own online advertising network, the Forbes Audience Network, on Nov. 9.

Earlier this month, parent company Forbes Media acquired Clipmarks, a technology for clipping and sharing snippets of Web content, and purchased 51% of RealClearPolitics.com, an aggregator of political news, commentary and polling data from across the spectrum of political viewpoints.

Each of these sites has roughly 1 million unique monthly visitors, according to Jim Spanfeller, president-CEO of Forbes.com. In April, Forbes Media bought Investopedia.com, a Web site for investor education that draws more than 2.5 million monthly users.

Combined with Forbes.com, ForbesAuto.com and ForbesTraveler.com, the Forbes Audience Network (FAN) will reach some 20 million unique visitors. “An advertiser who is looking for top business leaders or an affluent demographic can reach 20 million uniques with one quick buy,” Spanfeller said.

FAN will only include Forbes-owned and operated sites, Spanfeller said, adding that “additional sites we start or acquire will be part of FAN. Do we want to add more owned-and-operated sites? The answer is yes.”

He added, “FAN is not to be confused with other networks we might [create] that would be Forbes branded but not Forbes-owned. We have incremental plans to create a network of sites we don’t own and operate, which we would sell separately.”

The FAN audience is distinguished by business decision-making authority and the personal affluence that typically comes with it.

According to the company, the Forbes.com visitor has an average household income of $147,000, and 18% of viewers have incomes exceeding $150,000. Almost 38% of the audience is involved in the purchase of business products or services, and more than one-quarter of visitors are in senior management or above. Users of Forbes Traveler and Forbes Auto have average household incomes of $188,000 and $187,000, respectively.

With the sites acquired this year, “we don’t have as much transparency into their audiences,” Spanfeller said. He added, though, that active financial investors and people invested in the political process skew toward higher education and income than average.

Clipmarks.com is a general interest site that may not remain in the network for the long term. “We didn’t buy Clipmarks for the audience. We bought it for the technology,” Spanfeller said. “The fact that it may have incremental value beyond technology we can use in our group of sites is a total bonus.”

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