Glam Media Takes On Apple’s iAd With New Brand-Focused Mobile Ad Platform

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Glam Media, one of the largest publishing and advertising networks on the Web, is taking on Apple’s iAd today with the launch of GlamMobile, a mobile ad platform that aims to allow brand advertisers to engage with Glam’s readers of its mobile site. The company is also announcing the availability of GlamEnable, a new platform that provides publishers with the ability to develop sites for the mobile Web and create native applications for iOS and Android.

For background, Glam’s various publishing verticals have a reach of 94 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S. and more than 200 million globally, and is particularly popular amongst femaile audiences. Glam Media has more than 2,500 publishers organized across multiple vertical categories online includin Glam.com for Women, Glam Entertainment for Adults, Brash.com for Men and Bliss.com for health and wellness.

Glam already operates a web-based ad serving platform, Glam Adapt, but now is expanding its reach to mobile. Because of Glam’s reach amongst women in particular, the media company can deliver highly targeted, engaging advertising to this demographic. The network will also be able to target by geo-location, device type, mobile OS.

All of Glam Mobile’s ads are focused on interactive, rich media formats (more than 80 percent of all ads served through GlamAdapt are rich media ads). And Glam’s CEO Samir Arora says that the ad network is completely focused on brand-buys, and will compete directly with Apple’s iAd. The GlamMobile platform works across Apple’s iOS, Google Android, Windows Mobile, and HP Web OS.

In fact, a number of high-end brands have already signed up for Glam Mobile. Lexus and Macy’s, both of which are launch sponsors, are using Glam Mobile’s ad formats to reach women. Interestingly, we heard from sources that Glam was sniffing around a number of mobile ad networks in the early stages of developing Glam Mobile, including Greystripe, and Smaato, and decided against an outside acquisition because it was cheaper to build in-house.

GlamEnable is also launching today as a new automated platform that allows content publishers to create optimized versions of their websites for any HTML5 compatible Web browser and native applications for iOS and Android mobile operating systems. Glam Media sites (Glam.com, Bliss.com and Brash.com), as well as 75 of company’s publishing partners including Bag Snob, SheFinds, and The Young Black and Fabulous, have used GlamEnable to create optimized websites for mobile.

Glam is gearing up for an IPO in the next year, and isplanning to file its S-1 as early as this Fall. The company has also hit $100 million in annual revenue.

Apple iAd platform is reportedly suffering and is even cutting prices to entice advertisers, so it should be interesting to see how Glam Mobile performs for brands.