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Apr 21, 2008

NEWS: Social Network Conversations - Myspace, Six Apart, Ning, Marc Andressen

Six Apart Launches Ad Network, Moves Into Services
from TechCrunch by 

Six apart is launching an advertising network for blogs and will begin offering professional services (design, implementation, development, optimization) after acquiring New York based creative agency Apperceptive (this was correctly guessed by Cameron Barret in a Friday post (see comment 156) asking for readers to tell us who they thought Six Apart acquired).

Advertising Network - Six Apart Media

The company is now competing with Federated Media Publishing, Glam, the upcoming Technorati ad network and a number of others to get bloggers to join their network...

MySpace Gets New Ad Boss, Faces Same Challenge (NWS)
Silicon Alley Insider by 

As we had previously heard, MySpace (NWS) has turned marketing head Jeff Berman into its chief ad guy, as well. Jeff formally moves from EVP of marketing and content to the new title of president of sales and marketing. Somebody at News Corp. -- presumably MySpace boss Chris DeWolfe -- likes Jeff an awful lot: This is his second promotion since January; prior to that he was the head of MySpace TV. As far as we can tell, he's never been in sales before.

The moves follows the defenestration of Mike Barrett, who ran ad sales for Fox Interactive Media, the News Corp. unit made up of MySpace and a handful of other web properties. Mike and his team had been laboring, unsuccesfully, to meet the sales goals that Rupert Murdoch laid out for FIM last summer.

Techmeme River

Anthony Ha / VentureBeat
Social network creator Ning raises $60M at $500M valuation  —  Make-your-own-social-network company Ning has raised a $60 million fourth round of funding.  —  Co-founder Marc Andreessen, who also founded Netscape, says the funding came at a whopping $500 million pre-money valuation.

Adam L. Penenberg / Fast Company:
Ning's Infinite Ambition  —  Brain Trust: Ning chairman Marc Andreessen (he built Netscape back in the day), with Bianchini, at the company's HQ in Palo Alto. |  It isn't just a site where users can build their own social networks — Ning is a model of how to create a perpetual growth machine.

Charles Hudson / Charles Hudson's Weblog:
Social Networking Advertising - It Will Be Even Harder than we Think  —  I've had a few experiences in the past few weeks that continue to bolster my belief that monetizing social networks and communities will continue to be a lot harder than people think.

Ning Raises $60 Million Fourth Round; $500 Million Pre-Money Valuation

from paidContent.org by 

Automagically, news of Ning's latest funding comes out concurrently with a rather glowing piece in Fast Company… the make-your-own social network has raised a $60 million fourth round from unspecified institutional investors investors, valuing the company at $500 million, pre-money. The company last raised $44 million last summer, which then valued the company at $170 million. On his blog, founder Marc Andreesen explains: "We raised the money to enable us to keep scaling given our accelerating growth (over 230,000 networks on Ning now, growing at over 1,000 per day) and to make sure we have plenty of firepower to survive the oncoming nuclear winter. At current growth rates, we don't need it to get to cash flow positive, but having lived through the last crunch, it's good to be conservative with these things." He also noted that the round was led by Allen & Co.

Andreesen's comments aren't the first to tie a big raise with fears of a coming downturn. Last week, Fabrice Grinda, founder of free classifieds site OLX also suggested that his company's latest round was in part insurance against a recession.

Ning isn't alone in offering what could be called a white label social networking platform, but unlike a number of its competitors, like KickApps, it's made a point of targeting users, as opposed to just businesses. Not that it doesn't do have a B2B side. It's most well known site seems to be Thisis50, the official social net of the rapper 50 Cent.

Blogging Software Firm SixApart Buys Social Media Agency Apperceptive

SixApart, the blogging software firm with products like MovableType, Typepad and Vox, is now moving up the value chain into offering advertising and consulting services, and has bought New York City-based social media creative agency, Apperceptive. The financial details were not disclosed. Apperceptive has worked with Six Apart for the past two years, and its clients include Huffington Post, Washington Post (NYSE: WPO), Gothamist, Boing Boing, Major League Baseball, and others...
Travel Ad Network Raises $15 Million First Round
from paidContent.org by 

Travel Ad Network has completed a $15 million first round funding led by Rho Ventures, Village Ventures and individual investors, the company tells us. The ad network, founded in 2003, plans to use the funds to support general growth efforts, including the development of new products and establishing itself in additional, though unspecified markets. The company, based in New York City, also has offices in Canada and the UK. TAN's vertical ad net, which is focused mainly on travel sites that cater to upscale consumers, drew 9.3 million uniques in March, according to comScore—ranked fifth behind Expedia, Travelport, Travelocity and Southwest Airlines. In the past year, though, TAN's experienced strong traffic growth and is up 97.9 percent over March '07's 4.7 million uniques.

Top Blogs - March

Top Social Networks


Top 10 US Social-Network and Blog-Site Rankings Issued for March

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