The company with the working title Pajamas Media officially launched today as Open Source Media (OSM). The new ad-supported media network unites bloggers, journalists and commentators.
OSM joins a rapidly growing group of blog-centric networks headed by high-profile publishers: Nick Denton's Gawker media, which today announced a syndication deal with Yahoo; Jason Calacanis' Weblogs Inc., newly acquired by AOL; and John Battelle's forthcoming Federated Media network.
"We'll, we're not later than Battelle," says OSM co-founder and CEO Roger L. Simon of the trend. "We're currently around 70 Weblogs and have people like Instapundit. Our network is worldwide, we have bloggers in Iraq, Spain, the U.K., and soon with a group of Italians." Simon, a bestselling novelist and a successful Hollywood screenwriter, is as high-profile, if not more, than rival publishers in the space.
The L.A.-based company is throwing an unusually splashy launch event, a half-day conference at New York's Rainbow Room. Celebrity journalists, bloggers and politicians in attendance include Judith Miller, Glenn Reynolds, John Podhoretz and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R - Texas). Lifestyle topics covered by the network were not ignored. The first panel, "Are Blogs the New Black?," focused on fashion.
OSM has ambitions to reinvent the idea of blog advertising. "Advertising on blogs was a work-intensive system," Simon told ClickZ. "There were no corporate ads because it was too time-consuming." He said Nielsen and iPro have just been hired by the company, and their stats will be posted on OSM's site.
"We're looking at how blog ads should look," Simon said, promising OSM will carry no "stupid" rich media ads "With cockroaches crawling on the page. Readers are bothered by it."
Tom Troja, founder of Emotionengine.com and most recently of Poindexter, heads ad sales for the company out of New York. "We're fortunate to be in a position to be thoughtful about this. Blog advertising is in transition; it's in its infancy," he told ClickZ News.
The OSM corporate pages will feature standard IAB ad units. "On the blog pages you'll see something a little different. The blogging community has its own standards -- very 'I, we, me,'" he said. "This community has some very creative software people. We're asking for their help. We're asking the bloggers who should advertise on their blog. We're trying to promote inclusion. We want to be open, but to do what's appropriate."
Simon doesn't rule out portal and syndication deals for the new network, and says RSS, pod- and videocast ads will likely be part of OSM's future. While the company says it has talked with agencies, no advertisers have been announced.
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Rebecca was previously VP, U.S. operations of Econsultancy, an independent source of advice and insight on digital marketing and e-commerce. Earlier, she held executive marketing and communications positions at strategic e-services companies, including Siegel & Gale, and has worked in the same capacity for global entertainment and media companies, including Universal Television & Networks Group (formerly USA Networks International) and Bertelsmann's RTL Television. As a journalist, she's written on media for numerous publications, including "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal." Rebecca spent five years as Variety's Berlin-based German/Eastern European bureau chief. Rebecca also taught at New York University's Center for Publishing, where she also served on the Electronic Publishing Advisory Group. Rebecca, author of "The Truth About Search Engine Optimization," was ClickZ's editor-in-chief for over seven years.
March 19, 2014