Lime Ad Network (www.lime.com/adnetwork) includes six well-known blogs including Savvy Vegetarian and EcoGeek.org and will attempt to extend Lime's reach with advertisers.
"We always envisioned Lime to be more of an umbrella brand where we could aggregate the distinct voices already in the community," said C.J. Kettler, founder and CEO. "It's very much a grassroots approach and as we got more with advertisers, we really wanted to extend our reach."
Kettler said Lime began bringing blogs like Mongabay.com and EcoSherpa.com into its blogroll nearly four months ago, which boosted traffic.
That green is the new black is no secret in the publishing and political arenas. With more consumer interest in green living and content than ever, savvy multimedia publishers like Lime are taking advantage of the groundswell of interest.
And the field just got a little more crowded: On Monday, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive announced the launch of Sprig, an environmentally friendly online shopping site. Sprig stands for "stylish people are into green." Hearst Magazines last week launched The Daily Green, a Web destination focused on green consumer issues and offering information on green products and services.
National Geographic unveiled Green.nationalgeographic.com, a site designed to inspire people to care about the planet through access to the work of its global network of journalists, photographers and field researchers. The site will offer tips for daily green living as well.
Lime launched just two years ago and averages anywhere from 1 million to 1.5 million unique visitors per month, according to comScore Media Metrics. Lime is a subsidiary of Revolution LLC, a company formed by Steve Case, the founder of AOL.
Kettler attributes the quick rampup in traffic to working across multiple media platforms: At launch, Lime was a broadband destination, delivering content via podcast, mobile phones and devices, video-on-demand cable and on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 114. Advertisers include Toyota, Garnier, Lay's Sunflower Chips, Stacy's Pita Chips, Weight Watchers and Nestle Pet Products.
Rhett Butler, founder of Mongabay.com, an environmental science site offering news on environmental science issues, was invited into the ad network late last year. Of Lime, Butler said, "they're interested in my sort of content." Butler who's run the site full-time for three years said he likes the idea of showing ads from companies that are interested in reaching an eco-minded audience. "I'm using AdSense and it's okay for some things, but my revenue fluctuates a bit with it."
Butler's site racked up 700,000 unique visitors last month. He plans to run an AdSense ad and a unit from the Lime network on the site going forward.
"It'll be an interesting experiment," Butler said, adding, "I want the ads to be useful to my audience--I don't have much advertising on my site and I want it to be effective."
Hank Green is the founder of Ecogeek.org, a site that explores technology that is enabling environmental change and attracts some 120,000 users a month. His site attracts young male geeks. Green employs a mix of Google's AdSense, Text Link ads and BlogAds, with moderate results. "Lime will be taking over a lot of my prime ad spots like the medium rectangle above the fold and the leaderboard," Green said.
He's enthused about the network: "It's exciting for a couple of reasons because I've been [doing] ad sales on top of marketing, editing and development and that wasn't working. It's really exciting to be able to hand that off to some extent, and it will allow Lime and us [environmental bloggers] to reach a wider audience of advertisers."
"Lime is really a destination where people can learn, read, share their own media [people post photos and videos], they can shop, search for local businesses and interact with one another," Kettler said.
According to a LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability Organization) study conducted by the National Marketing Institute, consumer spending in the green/healthy living sector reached $230 billion. The spending is split across five categories, including: Ecological Lifestyles ($81 billion), Sustainable Economy ($75 billion), Alternative Healthcare ($31 billion), Healthy Living ($28 billion), and Personal Development ($11 billion).