Glam's Not-So-Pretty, BFF Approach To Pushing Its ComScore Numbers Higher

glam-logo.pngGlam Media loves to tout its comScore numbers, and uses them to claim it is the largest collection of women’s sites in the world. And that’s true when you count all of the affiliate sites Glam does not own or operate that it sells advertising for. That’s Glam’s entire business model: sign up sites that appeal to women, and sell ads across the entire network. In June, that network reached 76.9 million people worldwide, which was flat with May (77.4 million), but much bigger than rival iVillage’s women’s network (27.6 million).

But apparently, reaching 77 million people a month is not enough. Glam is now trying to strong-arm its affiliates into placing the Glam logo on every page of their site, because that is how comScore counts traffic and visitor stats for the Glam Network. In its August newsletter to affiliates, Glam is claiming that affiliates agreed to place the Glam logo on their sites as part of contract they clicked on when they signed up. This is news to at least one affiliate, who forwarded the newsletter to us. It presents this claim almost innocuously as a “Question of the Month.” Here’s an excerpt (I’ve bolded parts for emphasis):


Q. Why do I need to place the Glam logo on my site/blog?

The Glam Publisher Network logo is very important for several reasons. One reason is ComScore, a company that provides a tool for ad agencies to make media buying decisions. It is an industry standard tool used by most of the advertising agencies in the United States.

If the Glam Publisher Network logo does not appear on your site or blog, it will be difficult to identify it as part of the Glam Network. That makes it difficult for Glam Media to include you in ad campaigns and categorize your site in ComScore. Additionally, having the Glam Network logo on your site is part of your contract.

In order to make it easier for you to implement, here are some of the rules about logo placement:

* The Glam Network logo has to be placed site-wide, meaning every page of your website.
* It can be placed at the top or the bottom of each webpage. However, the preferred location is at the top
* It can be placed in the sidebar on the top of each webpage.
* It cannot be placed in the side bar on the bottom or the middle of each webpage.
* You need to place the logo that corresponds to your category. For example, If yours is a fashion site, then use the logo that corresponds to the Fashion Channel, and so on. All logos are located in the Glam Insider under the Get Your Code, Glam Module Tab.
* Most important, please remember that all logos have to be up by Aug. 1, 2008.

If you have any questions about your logo or your account in general, please contact your account manager.

Yet, if you look at the language of Glam’s “Affiliate Linkage and Advertising Agreement” (which can be found here and embedded in its entirety below), the only stipulations that are seemingly related are the following (again I’ve bolded for emphasis):

b. Affiliate agrees to:

i. Display Advertising on pages of the Affiliate Websites according to the terms of this Agreement;

ii. Post Glam’s contact information in the advertising section of the Affiliate Website.

iii. Make third-party advertising provided to Affiliate by Glam the most prominent advertising on the Affiliate Websites and appear on the Affiliate Websites’ first visible page (i.e., above the “fold”);

iv. Implement all tags, formatting and code necessary in order for Glam to exercise its rights under this Agreement;

v. Place Glam Network Branding and contact information on the Property, in a form and manner as reasonably determined by Affiliate and Glam;

vi. Provide Glam with a default ad tag or image for unsold inventory to place in Glam’s ad serving system;

vii. Obtain Glam’s final approval of the placements and targeting of the Advertising and all references to Glam in the Affiliate Websites; and

That bit about placing Glam Network Branding on the site might cover the logo, but it clearly states that any such placement will be mutually determined by both the affiliate and Glam (presumably at a future date, so it can’t be part of the existing contract)

Oh, and there is also this nice clause in the agreement, which is unrelated, but still surprising. If you sign up to allow Glam to serve ads on your site, you are also giving them the first right of refusal in case you ever decide to sell your site. Per the agreement:

10. Right of First Refusal

a. Notice. If at any time Affiliate proposes to sell, license, lease or otherwise transfer all or any portion of its interest in any of the Affiliate Websites, then Affiliate shall promptly give Glam written notice of Affiliate’s intention to sell (the “Notice”). The Notice shall include (i) a description of the website’s content, (ii) the name(s) and address(es) of the prospective purchaser(s), (iii) the proposed consideration and (iv) the material terms and conditions upon which the proposed sale is to be made. The Notice shall certify that Affiliate has received a firm offer from the prospective purchaser(s) and in good faith believes a binding agreement for the sale is obtainable on the terms set forth in the Notice. The Notice shall also include a copy of any written proposal, term sheet or letter of intent or other agreement relating to the proposed sale.

b. Right of First Refusal. Glam shall have an option for a period of 15 days from receipt of the Notice to elect to purchase Affiliate’s interest in such website(s) at the same price and subject to the same material terms and conditions as described in the Notice. Glam may exercise such purchase option by notifying Affiliate in writing before expiration of the 15-day period. In this event, Affiliate agrees to enter into an agreement on terms substantially similar to the terms set forth in the Notice.

Best Friends Forever, indeed.

Read this document on Scribd: Glam Affiliate Advertising Agreement