In a response to my glowing post on Glam, Michael Arrington argues that Glam is, in essence, cheating by calling itself the largest women’s site when it’s really not a site but a network. I argued back in his comments that this is precisely its strength and a model media companies should follow. In fact, I wish that Michael himself would follow it and start the Glam for Geeks. The comment’s not up yet, so here’s what I said:
But I’ve been arguing to big media companies that they need to become networks themselves. Google is a network. Who cares how large its site is? What matters is its reach on sites all over the internet.
Google grew by building a network. So did Glam. I say that is a model for survival and growth among media companies. Local newspapers, for example, should be building hyperlocal networks of local blogs; with them, they can expand coverage and reach in ways that were never possible when they depended only on staff.
In fact, I wish you’d start the TechCrunch network: Select just the best blogs, the ones you like. Give them the Arrington seal of approval. And then sell ads on your larger network. You have more sales power than any of those network members. You also get to extend your reach for your advertisers (and tame this wild blog world). You get to give your audience more content you curate and thus recommend.
I think what separates Glam from, say, Federated Media is that it is a content network and an ad network. Federated made stabs at that but didn’t have the means or moxy to create a content brand as Glam did. Glam contributes mightily to the network with its brand, promotion, traffic, and curation. It benefits greatly from a network of content it doesn’t have to employ. And the network benefits greatly from getting sales it couldn’t otherwise have.
So build your empire, Michael. Become the Glam of geeks!
: LATER: Saul Hansell at the Times Bits Blog on Glam:
These numbers, and the advertiser interest they bring, have led to the envy among Internet publishers, many of whom are confronting a slowdown in online ad spending. If they too were able to create an alliance of smaller sites, these publishers now say, they could look bigger in the ComScore ratings and give their sales forces more inventory.
For Glam, this blatant imitation, by far more established brands, could well be a significant threat. But Samir Arora, Glam’s chief executive, has a plan to turn some of his envious potential rivals into allies. He will run networks for them, giving media companies all the glory and none of the headaches of building their own. And he will do it in a way that may well boost Glam in the long run.
: LATER: I don’t know why my comment is apparently being blocked at TechCrunch but, unfortunately, I’m prevented from joining in the discussion there.
: UPDATE: Michael freed the comment from the tuna net. Good discussion going on over there.