In a deal with Federated Media Publishing, BabyCenter will headline and sell ads on FM's two-year-old parenting blog network, joining at least four other women's media brands that recently started selling ad inventory on an extended group of partner sites.
The partnership suggests Johnson & Johnson-owned BabyCenter has been successful in its direct sales efforts, whereas FM may be struggling to woo advertisers in its parenting subnetwork. Indeed, ads now running on BabyCenter.com include display campaigns for numerous parenting- and baby-focused brands like PBS Kids, Stokke, Pampers and Johnson's Baby Oil. Meanwhile, FM's premier blog property, Dooce.com, contains a smaller number of parenting-themed ads, though one for Gather.com includes messaging geared toward parents.
Neil Chase, VP of author services at FM, confirmed the partnership is meant to strengthen its parenting blog segment.
"The federation was doing fine, but it could be bigger, it could be better," he said. "It has a lot more possibilities when you bring in this kind of a partner."
Under the agreement, BabyCenter will have the right to sell ads on FM's roster of mommy blogs, daddy blogs and other small parenting sites. Dooce, Celebrity Baby Blog and Laid-Off Dad are among the network's roster of familiar sites, while SavvySource and MommyTrack'd are new to the network, which has been rechristened BabyCenter Parenting Federation. Additionally, the companies said BabyCenter will seek to promote content from its blog network partners on its own sites.
BabyCenter is at least the fourth major female-focused online media brand to bolster its direct sales efforts with inventory from like-minded properties. Last week, LifeTime and Warner Bros. Television Group separately introduced similar offerings built around their own properties. LifeTime will work with Glam Media to develop an ad network around a relaunched myLifetime.com. Meanwhile Warner Bros. has partnered with Adify to recruit and distribute ads to partner sites, using its own newborn site, MomLogic.com, as the anchor property. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and NBCU's iVillage are also getting into the game.
FM will continue to offer ads on its parenting network, but won't represent BabyCenter's in-house inventory at BabyCenter.com or ParentCenter.com. Likewise, BabyCenter's relationship with FM won't extend beyond the parenting network, though Chase said interested advertisers could be connected to other sites across its network.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.