Glam Launches Bliss.com, New Health-Focused Vertical

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Glam Media on Thursday unveiled a third vertical network focused on health and wellness called Bliss.com, along with new content management and social networking platforms for contributing bloggers and writers.

Like the flagship Glam.com property, Bliss.com is geared primarily to a female audience but centered on health-related topics, including diet and nutrition, fitness, wellness, family and moms. The site kicks off with more than 100 publishing partners, such as 101Cookbooks, ecofabulous, EmpowHer, MyFitnessPal, and YourTango.

Glam estimates reach for Bliss.com at about 11 million monthly unique visitors to start. Launch advertisers on the site -- whose name Glam is using through an agreement with Bliss Spa -- include Crystal Light and Schick Intuition Naturals. The health site is the first vertical hub Glam has launched since Brash.com in 2008, targeting men 18-49. The company's sites collectively attract 94 million monthly visitors, ranking Glam Media No. 8 on comScore's list of the top 50 Web properties, as of May.

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With the debut of its latest vertical, the company also introduced Glam 2.0, a new content model powered by a pair of new platforms: GlamCreate and GlamConnect. The former provides a new content creation and syndication system for bloggers and journalists that spans blog posts, photos, video and other rich media.

GlamCreate also offers a directory that allows users to showcase their work according to specific categories. Content created for Glam through the platform will be owned by the company, but the arrangement permits an undisclosed ad revenue-sharing arrangement with contributors. Glam chairman and CEO Samir Arora said the company has paid out more than $100 million to affiliated bloggers and sites to date.

GlamConnect is a companion system for professional authors and bloggers that lets them create communities around specific content categories. The company is also developing tools so they can integrate social-networking features into their own sites and blogs. The idea is to encourage creation of niche social properties for people with common interests in contrast to broader social sites like Facebook or LinkedIn.

BlissConnect is the first such social property built on the platform, launching with 300 bloggers and journalists in the health space. Bliss.com has also been developed using GlamCreate and the company's existing GlamAdapt ad-serving system, which includes a wide set of engagement metrics and targeting.

In addition to its current brand advertising options, Arora said Glam also plans to introduce units geared to the social-networking sites that will be built around particular content verticals. "We'll innovate a whole new suite of social ads," he said. That could involve ads incorporating social tools like Twitter and Facebook or others allowing brands to solicit feedback on a new product from the "influencers" in a given category.

"We've already brought social activation into our current units, and now we're going to do the next phase of branded social media advertising," he said. The new social ads are expected to roll out in the fourth quarter.

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