Six Apart Aims for Brand Dollars with Acquisition and Ad Network

Six Apart has long offered applications for serious bloggers, and with two new moves it’s signaled it wants to lend a hand with their ad sales and operations as well. The developer of Movable Type has launched an ad network for bloggers, and has acquired a firm that will give it more brand services capabilities and help it establish a presence in New York City.

The ad offering involves a new relationship with Adify, whose platform powers several vertical ad networks. Bloggers using any publishing software — not just Six Apart’s — are eligible to be considered for the new network and to share ad revenue with the company. Six Apart may decide on a case-by-case basis to restrict bloggers in the network to running only its ads, said Chris Alden, Six Apart CEO.

“We think we can provide a better value to the bloggers,” he said.

Like other providers of ad services to small site operators, Six Apart stresses the quality of brand advertising enabled through its platform. By doing so it hopes to distinguish itself from larger cost-per-action and cost-per-click networks it argues result in poor quality ads and little revenue.

The company’s Media Group unit already has sold ads served on LiveJournal blogs and its Vox blog platform for the past couple years. Some of those campaigns have involved custom work for brand advertisers like MSN and HP.

“The trick of blog advertising always is you can do a lot of cool integrated things. But blogs are small; advertisers want scale,” said Adify CEO Russell Fradin. Adify’s system also runs niche networks including Forbes’s Business and Finance Blog Network and the MomLogic Network from Warner Bros. Television Group.

Though the company has direct sales staff in San Francisco, some ads running through the Adify platform could come through other ad networks buying Six Apart network media. “If an ad network or other publisher comes to us� we’re not going to have a hard and fast rule that says, ‘No we can’t take that advertising,’ ” Alden told ClickZ News. Ads will be sold on a CPM basis, or could be based on other payment structures.

Six Apart’s purchase of New York agency Apperceptive, announced today, is intended to build out its creative services capabilities. It also establishes an NYC base for a company that has its sights set on building more brand advertiser relationships. Apperceptive’s office will become the new home of Six Apart Services, according to Alden. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

As blog advertising evolves, companies like Six Apart are introducing services intended to better meet brand advertiser needs. Blog search firm Technorati has also introduced marketing services, and paired with Ogilvy North America as the agency’s marketing software provider a little over a year ago.

“We are doing something very similar [to Technorati] now when it comes to the advertising services, so we are competitive on that side,” said Alden.

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