Glam Buys Ning

 

Glam Media wants to be far more than an ad network. The company said yesterday it bought former social media high flier Ning in order to build out its platform to include social networking.

Ning shifted businesses about a year ago, ditching its original business model of allowing millions of free social networks in favor of a paid model. The move helped Ning get a higher quality of publisher, according to Jason Rosenthal, Ning’s CEO who will become evp of social media at Glam. It now boasts 100,000 publishers and attracts 60 million unique visitors per month.

The companies declined to specify financial details of the deal, but All Things D reports it is worth $200 million. That’s a hefty sum, although not quite the “infinite ambition” detailed for Ning as recently as 2008 in Fast Company. That article spoke of a “billion-dollar company” built on “viral loops.”

Glam sees an opportunity to offer the technology platform to its publishers and extend its advertising across Ning sites. The question is whether the kind of brand advertising Glam is after will fit on tens of thousands of Ning properties. It’s the wrong question, if you ask Rosenthal, who thinks the nature of quality publishing is totally changing.

“Historically the highest quality content came from the largest media companies,” he said. “Today the highest quality, most engaging content online is coming from independent publishers across the Web.”

Glam sure hopes so. It is building a new-style media company that’s a hybrid of ad network and technology company. It has branched out from its roots as a woman-focused network to build tech tools, like an ad server and mobile and content-creation platforms. Ning will add a needed social piece to the puzzle, according to Glam CEO Samir Arora.

“The downturn almost wiped out many social companies,” he said. “Ning was one of the survivors.”