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Glam Media’s Delayed IPO

Posted on Tuesday, Nov 20th 2012

IPOs of Web-based companies have not necessarily gotten the results that companies or their investors were hoping for. The biggest fall-outs have been from Facebook, Groupon, and Zynga, which had many hopes pinned on them but have seen their market values plummet since their public offerings. As a result, several other IPO favorites have decided to slow down their run-up to an IPO.

Glam Media’s IPO Path
Glam Media is a vertical-focused digital media organization that was launched in 2004 by Samir Arora. The company has earned its position in the digital media industry by verticalizing its offerings to meet consumer and advertiser demand.

Today, Glam Media has more than 356 million unique monthly visitors on its more than 3,400 lifestyle websites and blogs. According to a comScore report earlier this year, it was rated as the largest digital lifestyle website in the world. Its ad network caters to more than 60 billion premium brand ads, and it advertises for 89 of the top 100 Ad Age 2011 brands.

Glam earns revenues through advertising, which it shares with content creators. It has managed to keep its financials a closely guarded secret. Revenues and earnings are not known, but analysts believe the company has been profitable since 2010. To date, it has received $135 million in venture funding from investors, including Information Capital LLC, Accel Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Walden Venture Capital, DAG Ventures, Hubert Burda Media, GLG Partners, and Aeris Capital. It also has debt funding of an additional $20 million from Hercules Technology Growth Capital and Silicon Valley Bank.

Glam was all set for an IPO earlier this year and had selected Goldman Sachs and Bank of America as its bankers. However, it appears that the technology IPO disappointments have caused them to delay the IPO. The market is again abuzz with news that the company will release their anticipated $1 billion offering soon.

Glam Media’s Growth Plan
While the IPO may have been delayed, it has not stopped Glam’s growth. Last year, Glam began to beef up its social media offerings through the acquisition of Ning. Ning operates on a subscription-based model that lets their customers create their own social network. Earlier this year, Glam upgraded the service by adding new features and trying to improve monetization. It launched Glam Social, which is run on Ning and which lets customers run ad campaigns within a social setting. Consumers thus have the ability to build their own communities on their own websites instead of relying solely on social media networks such as Facebook. It also launched a Premium Ad feature on Ning and added mobile device capabilities. To cater to its bigger customers, Glam launched Ning VIP, which offers additional scalability, customization, and support. Access to Ning VIP starts at a base fee of at $1,000 a month.

It also upgraded the platform recently so that Ning is now completely integrated with the Glam ecosystem. Glam reports that Ning is accessed by more than 50 million unique monthly active users and sees the addition of more than 2,000 new social networks each month.

As part of its vertical expansion, it launched Tend, a network focused on parenting. As for its other verticals, Tend’s curated content is highly ranked and includes discussions from editors, notes from mommy bloggers and articles from parenting authors.

Glam is also growing internationally. It has established a strong presence with offices in the U.K., Germany, France, Japan, Canada, South Korea, and India. It not only has local studios but has also established local content creators and journalists globally. It has more than 5,000 content creators worldwide.

The online display advertising business model has become somewhat unpopular of late. It would be interesting to see how Glam fares under the circumstances.

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