Glam.com Courts High-End Retailers, Advertisers

It’s Lucky magazine meets e-commerce in Glam.com, a fashion-oriented Web site launching today, which seeks both affiliate and advertising dollars from luxury goods players.

The site — which has been more than three years in the making — was started by a group of Silicon Valley who’s who. Co-founders of parent company Glam Media include former Tickle Chairman Samir Arora and Susan Kare, who designed the original Apple Macintosh interface graphics. On the editorial side, Glam’s vice president and publishing director is Carl Portale, who was previously publisher at the Elle Group.

“As more women shop online, there was a need create a unique solution that started by focusing on the emotion and entertainment of shopping — not just buying,” said Arora, who holds the title of chairman at Glam Media.

The idea behind Glam.com was to take the shopping magazine genre, exemplified by Lucky magazine, to the Web, and capture women early in the buying cycle. As in a magazine, editors determine what appears on the site’s virtual pages, which feature text and imagery about apparel, jewelry, fragrances and cosmetics. Users can slice and dice the content a number of different ways, viewing styles associated with a particular celebrity, for example, or taking quizzes aimed to help them find products suited to their personal tastes. Though content revolves around products, executives say editorial choices are made independently of any advertising relationships.

Because the Web has capabilities magazines lack, the Glam.com founders have enabled e-commerce. Site visitors can buy any of the products featured. As in an affiliate relationship, Glam gets anywhere between 12 and 24 percent of the money merchants make via its referrals. The company has lined up more than 60 retailers to participate at launch, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, and Blue Fly.

The second part of the equation is advertising, which is sold on a CPM basis. The company is offering three main ad units: the 160 x 600 skyscraper, the 300 x 600 half page ad, and the 336 x 280 large rectangle. The company is also working to develop what it calls a “brand immersion unit.”

“It is an ad unit that functions like a landing page. What it does is it reinforces the sell,” said Jack Wu, director of interactive advertising at Glam.com. “If you’re asking them to do a transaction, to purchase a product, you have to offer more information and more incentive.”

Executives say plans are also afoot to develop both video content and advertising.

Ads are targeted either by channel or by keyword. Editors will assign each featured product keywords, and ads will be targeted so that advertised products appear adjacent to similar editorial. The keyword system can also be used to prevent competitors’ products from appearing next to one another.

“We view advertising as content, so we’re going to be selective to ensure that the advertisers reflect the look, tone and feel of our site,” said Jack Rotolo, vice president of retail and advertising.

Though Glam.com declined to name any advertisers, at launch ads from Kenneth Cole, Fragments, Liz Claiborne, Lancome and Nine West appeared.

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