About.com, a collection of vertical
sites created by “guides,” on Thursday unveiled an effort, the Luna
Network, aimed at dramatically increasing impressions available to advertisers.
The network matches About.com’s (BOUT)
niche sites with other sites that offer related content, so the company
an sell impressions across the categories. The partner sites, all of which
must have more than 100,000 impressions, give up their page views and some
real estate at the top of their pages. In return, they get a $7.50 CPM.
About.com will charge between $60 to $120 CPM rate.
About.com execs expect the new relationship to bring in traffic that adds
up to more than the sum of its parts, because the partner sites and
About.com will be able to drive traffic back and forth to one another.
“If someone goes to a conventional ad network, whether it’s 24/7 or
Flycast, those networks don’t own any sites, so they can’t throw traffic
from one to another, and we can,” said Scott Kurnit, chairman and chief
executive officer of About.com.
“What we have is a content network with site ownership that has obviously
better verticals, high quality content, that’s more saleable.”
The move is likely to propel About.com, which is currently the tenth most
visited Web property according to Media Metrix, even higher on the
list. Although the company has always had a collection of very targeted
vertical sites, it has never had that many impressions in each category.
This initiative is an attempt to address the problem — to have both
quality and quantity.
About.com will start by rounding up sites in the business, health,
e-commerce, and computing categories. Next will come entertainment. The
company says it’s already signed up 100 partner sites, which include StockCharts.com and AtDiabetes.com.