Glam Media making publishers wait four months for cash

Owen Thomas · 11/04/08 06:20PM

When will Samir Arora admit that Glam Media, his online ad network, is running out of money? Glam buys up ad space on websites and resells it to advertisers, as well as operating a few token websites itself. But it has overpaid for much of that space, and revenues are running dangerously short of projections. Now, Glam is delaying its payments to partners by up to 120 days, claiming that the move is necessary because advertisers are slowing their payments to Glam. Which is utter nonsense.A well-capitalized ad broker would be able to pay its publishers promptly; it's part of the reason why such middlemen take a big cut of advertisers' payments. The only sensible reason why Glam can't pay Web publishers promptly is because it no longer has the capital to float its accounts receivable, despite raising $85 million earlier this year. I'm sure Arora will deny that he's running low on money — in which case he will be tacitly admitting that he's stiffing his partners.

Be careful what you write about Glam

Owen Thomas · 10/21/08 01:40PM

It's a predictable routine: Write about Glam Media, Samir Arora's dangerously bubbly online-advertising startup, and get bombarded by comments from website operators for whom Glam sells ads. The latest victim: Saul Hansell of the New York Times, who dared to point out that most of Glam's traffic comes not from the kind of high-quality, editorially driven websites his salespeople promise to advertisers, but from horoscopes, social networks, and gaming sites. Two Glam publishers promptly weighed in. It almost makes one wonder if, like a political campaign, Arora gins up faux grassroots complaints. (Valleywag has attracted its own reliable Glam commenter, AretinaAegeus.) Like a well-done Astroturfing, as the process is known in politics, the comments seem genuine enough — original wording, no cutting-and-pasting of talking points. But the process may backfire on Arora. Goaded by the commenters, Hansell updated his piece with a more concise — and damning — explanation of why Glam may be scamming its advertisers:

Layoff-ridden Glam Media launches men's site

Owen Thomas · 10/20/08 04:40PM

We were so hoping that our source was kidding when we first heard of online ad network Glam Media's plans for a men's website called Brash last month. Alas, no. The site has launched, but no need to visit: If you've read Esquire or Men's Journal, and can imagine the palest possible imitation of those publications, then you've got the picture. What's really happening here:Glam's whim-seeking CEO, Samir Arora, in his efforts to create the illusion of a game-changing new media company, is expanding willy-nilly into new fields, without the sustained effort or attention required, hoping that someone will buy his company before they notice all the failed initiatives that trail in Arora's wake. Our prediction: Brash will go the way of Glam's "wellness" channel, an initiative of Arora's wife, Rebecca Arora. Six months after its launch, Glam laid off all the salespeople involved in selling it, several sources confirm.

Layoff-happy Glam Media losing customers

Owen Thomas · 09/30/08 11:40AM

Samir Arora, the superslick salesman who runs online-advertising startup Glam Media, spun last week's layoffs of 14 people as a routine move to contain costs. Just another amazing act of presciently efficient management at a company Arora has sold to investors as the future of all media. What story, we wonder, will Arora come up with to explain the company's disappearing customers?As an online ad network, Glam buys ad inventory from publishers and resells it — hopefully, at a markup. Some of those publishers are now becoming restive. We hear Lifetime, which signed with Glam less than a year ago, wants out of its deal. MyYearbook, the second-rate social network which provides much of the traffic count Glam touts to advertisers, is said to be disappointed with the revenues Glam has been providing. And Global Grind, a hip-hop social network startup which only signed with Glam in June, may also be moving on. CEO Navarrow Wright tells me the company is already "seeing success" with its Glam partnership, but at the recent Mixx conference in New York, talk was that Global Grind was examining its options and thinking about breaking its Glam deal. (Photo via San Francisco Chronicle)

Glam Media puts out press release to promote founder's new wife

Owen Thomas · 07/25/08 03:20PM

Only in Silicon Valley would a marriage be announced by press release. No, Glam Media founder Samir Arora wasn't so crass as to issue a communiqué about his wedding; but he let word slip in the announcement of a new online-advertising network from Glam for health and wellness websites. The former Rebecca Bogle, now Rebecca Arora, is running the network. The two married in March 2008, according to an online gift registry. Her LinkedIn profile tells us that, in addition to working as Glam's "wellness editorial director," she's also a "Zentherapy bodytherapy practitioner at Izii." Aside from that, she had stints at Oracle and Accenture, both less than two years in length. Working for either company, even that long, could lead one to need therapy — as might getting married to the erratic and mercurial Samir Arora. Arora's love note to his bride: CEO so pretty in pink

Melissa Gira Grant · 06/23/08 01:20PM

He says he invented the term "website," practices zazen meditation, and would have us believe he would accessorize his custom tailored duds with pink even if it weren't the official color of his Web site. In a gushy profile of girly ad platform's founder Samir Arora by the London Times, Arora's over-glossed sense of worth is rivaled only by the rumored $1.3 billion price tag on his company. Which, by the looks of the press rampage Glam is on, is as bolstered by frothy tidbits of their founder's "glam" lifestyle as it is by the slippery story that Glam has cornered the women's market online — which they haven't.

The $1.3 billion Glam scam

Nicholas Carlson · 05/29/08 07:00PM

Did anyone actually offer to buy Glam Media for $1.3 billion? We asked sources familiar with the company and its publishing partners. The one-word answer: No. The two-word answer: No way. The non-verbal answer: giggles. So who's the source of the rumor? Probably Glam CEO Samir Arora himself.

Why Tim Draper's latest virus isn't catching

Owen Thomas · 02/05/08 04:42PM

Glam Media is the "fastest growing company on the face of the earth," according to its backer, the always hyperbolic Tim Draper. In an interview with AlwaysOn's Tony Perkins, Draper compares Glam, an online ad network, to past investments like Hotmail and Skype. But aside from enjoying his backing, there's little resemblance. A better comparison? Enron, another company with metastasizing revenues.

Glam Media raising a round — but far less than it hoped for

Owen Thomas · 01/31/08 02:59PM

Samir Arora, the Valley's most talented flim-flam artist, has convinced investors to put in a fresh round of financing into Glam Media, his online-ad network. The deal could be announced as soon as tomorrow. The amount raised: Between $30 million and $100 million, we hear, valuing the company at as much as $400 million. A lofty figure, given Glam's scant sales — but Arora had sought a $200 million round, and a valuation in the range of $800 million to $1 billion. The premise of that valuation: The 25 million monthly visitors to sites in Glam's network, many of them female. But investors likely figured out that Glam doesn't own most of the sites those people visited.

Glam Media not looking so beautiful

Owen Thomas · 08/13/07 02:11PM

When raising money, it's best to keep investors guessing. The less they understand your business, the more likely they are to substitute optimism for analysis. At least, that seems to be Glam Media's hope. By touting itself as the best way to reach women on the Web, the online-advertising concern is hoping to rake in big bucks. A private-placement document (PDF) circulated by Bank of America and investment bank Allen & Co. says that the company aims to raise $200 million, and claims that Glam, with 19 million unique visitors a month, is growing faster than MySpace did before News Corp. acquired it. And VentureBeat reports that Glam is on the verge of signing a multiyear, $1 billion ad-sales deal. There are a few small problems with those displays of optimism, however.