OneFN doesn't own the other sites, but serves as their marketing arm, selling advertising on the sites in exchange for a fee and a cut of the ad revenue.
The company also sends out millions of opt-in emails and over 20 daily and weekly online newsletters for some of the sites.
OneFN is proof that the banding together of sites in a category is the best way to sell advertising on them. OneFN sells all the advertising for the sites, not unsold space like some third party ad servers. And many of the sites sold no advertising before aligning with OneFN. "We represent the entirety of their inventory, we're their exclusive sales arm," says Rick Norris, OneFN's vice president of sales and marketing.
The company has over 20 advertisers now who start with ads on all 17 sites. Then, "based on how each site performs, we begin to optimize the advertising to make sure it's placed on the best sites," he says.
The advertisers buy packages that last for a month to a quarter. They use banners, buttons, cubes, badges and Skyscraper towers. Two of the advertisers have started using rich media. OneFN is working with two rich media vendors, Bluestreak and Pointroll. Financial Times is using Bluestreak and Merrill Lynch is using Pointroll. Norris says OneFN suggests rich media to the clients, many of whom "don't know about it."
Most of the advertisers are financial institutions, such as Ameritrade and the Option Industrial Council, but the high demographic of the investor audience makes it attractive to out of category advertising, so OneFN is also selling travel, automotive and other advertising, Norris says.
The sites, which run 15 million ad impressions a month, generate 14 million unique visitors each month, and they are rich ones, which appeals to advertisers. Investors are mostly male, earn $115,000 per year and have an average portfolio size of $225,000.
OneFN has grown from three sites at the beginning of this year to 17 with plans to add three more soon, which will increase the unique visitors number, Norris says.
It's the largest special interest network in the financial category, according to Media Metrix rankings. ."
- Ken Liebeskind may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org