Eco-Ad Network Launch Could Signal a Greener Web

As demand for its environmental content heats up, eco-lifestyle media outfit LIME aims to offer additional inventory to advertiser clients through a new ad network. The network of six green-minded blogs is a mere seedling in its current phase, but LIME, owned by Revolution Living, expects to sprout as more small publishers join in.

Display ads will be sold on the network on a CPM and run-of-network basis to start. “As we evolve, we certainly want to think about targeting more specific areas as well,” said LIME CEO C.J. Kettler. Sites currently in the network are EcoGeek.org, EcoSherpa.com, Savvy Vegetarian Eco-chick.com, and wildlife conservation site Mongabay.com. Rounding out the network is The Beauty Brains, a blog dedicated to providing scientific answers to questions about beauty and cosmetics.

EcoGeek.org is also part of the Blogads network’s “Environment and Sustainability” sub-network, which allows advertisers to place ads on both individual blogs or across the entire “hive” of 54 environmentally-friendly sites. Blogads buys differ from most ad networks including the new LIME network since Blogads ads are sold for a flat fee for an allotted period of time, determined by each site owner. Most ad networks use a CPM or cost-per-click model.

“This is really just the beginning of the ad network,” said Kettler, adding, “We found there was advertiser demand, and frankly wanted to be able to share in that.” Currently, brands including Nestle’s Pet Promise and healthy snack food purveyor Flat Earth, run display ads on the Lime.com site. Many, including WhiteWave, maker of Silk soy milk, often choose to run both display and pre-roll video ads, according to Kettler.

“Most of our advertisers run ads across [multiple platforms] as much as possible,” she said. Advertisers can buy into the new network separately from the Lime site; the company has five salespeople in New York City.

Consumer interest in so-called sustainable living could be on the rise if a recent report from Nielsen BuzzMetrics on online discussion of such issues is any indication. The study shows mentions of “sustainable” and “sustainability” rose 110 percent in March 2007 compared to March 2006. The Web buzz measurement firm even has introduced a “Sustainability Monitor” service reporting on eco-conversation as it relates to advertiser verticals like automotive and consumer-packaged goods.

Some bloggers and their readers may be sharing thoughts on GM’s “Go Yellow” campaign, for example, promoting the corn-based ethanol fuel blend E85. The advertiser is running display ads on Lime.com as part of the effort.

LIME’s site content features text and video related to living a well-balanced life. Users can listen to podcasts, shop for eco-conscious products, view video clips demonstrating yoga poses or create personal profiles. The media firm also distributes content to AOL Video, Joost, Apple’s iTunes, Verizon V Cast for mobile, and Sirius Satellite Radio.

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