Glam Media Buys Ning Social Media Platform

Lifestyle Network, Rumored to be Considering an IPO, Aims to Enhance Social Skills, Diversify Revenue

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Glam Media CEO Samir Arora
Glam Media CEO Samir Arora

Vertical media company Glam Media is acquiring Ning, a platform allowing users to build custom social websites, for an undisclosed sum, the companies announced today.

Since launching in 2005, Glam Media -- made up of men's and women's lifestyle styles -- has grown into a platform with more than 2,500 publishers and 85 million monthly unique visitors, according to ComScore. Its business focuses on selling relatively high-end display ads to 1,000 brand advertisers including Louis Vuitton, Unilever and Procter & Gamble -- no search or click-based units.

Glam CEO Samir Arora said Ning offered social functionality as well as subscription revenue that could help diversify Glam's revenue.

Ning powers a cross-section of online communities consisting of 100,000 publishers, Martha Stewart's mentorship community, Scott Brown's virtual campaign office and the collaborative hub for the Peace Corps. More than half its sites are integrated with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google.

"It was really Facebook in a box," said Mr. Arora, describing Ning's robust social features. He noted that the eventual integration with Ning will allow Glam Media visitors to interact more socially with content.

Ning, which was founded in 2004 and has 100 employees in Silicon Valley, will continue to function as a distinct entity, though some of its functionality will be integrated into Glam Media verticals, Mr. Arora said. The details of that integration haven't been worked out yet. Ning's CEO, Jason Rosenthal, will join Glam as exec VP-social media and serve as Ning's GM.

Ning's co-founder, Silicon Valley pioneer Marc Andreesen, will join Glam Media's board of directors.

Glam Media has long been rumored to have an IPO in the works. Mr. Arora declined to comment on the subject.

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