Do you remember Ning.com? It was kind of a big deal back in the days when people could set up their social network for free. But they had bills to pay, and they decided to supplement their ad revenue with charging for their services, and their popularity began to dwindle. People figured out there was no need to pay for something on Ning when they could do almost the same thing on Facebook for free.
So their value began to dwindle (from $500M to $200M, according to some reports or maybe $150M, but who's counting? ), until they were bought this week by a site called Glam.com, which is pretty much what it sounds like it might be - a medium sized (according to Alexa) fashion news site. Oh, but not just a fashion news site - they are dreaming of being the future of media. Not just social media - but media. Well, always aim high, right?
Through the acquistion, Glam gained Ning's technology (which was quite good), and remaining networks. According to the Wall Street Journal:
...Closely-held Glam is the ninth largest Web property by unique U.S. visitors and ranks as the largest Internet company in the U.S. targeted at women, according to comScore Inc. Launched in 2005, the company sells advertising on its own sites as well as a network of 2,500 websites that reach a total of 85 million unique U.S. visitors.
The Ning deal provides Glam the opportunity to offer publishers tools to make their websites more social, such as blogs, photos, chats and buttons to post content on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Founded in 2004, Ning sells a subscription-based service to more than 100,000 users.
“There is a huge shift happening on the Web right now. Users in the past would go to portals or search. More and more of the content sharing that is happening online is happening on social networks,” says well-known venture capitalist and Ning Chairman Marc Andreessen...
The stats presentation is pretty creative - I'll give them credit for that. Basically of companies that exist ONLY online in the U.S., they are the 9th largest, and supposedly the largest targeted at women. This is simply not true. Just off the top of my head, I thought to check BlogHer.com, and it's ranked a lot higher on Alexa than is Glam, as is DivineCaroline.com according to the Alexa rankings. But, again, who's counting? The main point is that Glam wants to make inroads into socializing online brand management, by allowing products to develop their own networks on its site. It's a good idea...I'm surprised no one has thought of that before. Oh, wait - they have! If I remember correctly, MySpace in its heyday was all about the promotion of bands and music, and pretty much every product in the universe now has a Facebook page. But they don't all have their own Ning network. Will they want to? We'll see.
One thing limiting their growth as opposed to Facebook, and even compared to the independent Ning, is that they are focusing on women (and men who are really into fashion), whereas Ning and Facebook have a much wider demographic. Personally I think the folks at Glam saw the overwhelming success of SmartGirllPolitics.com on Ning, and thought their colors would look fabulous together.