Merging Glam and Ning

Today, my company Ning, where I serve as chairman and cofounder, is announcing that it has agreed to merge into Glam Media.  In this post, I’d like to briefly explain the whats and whys, and to thank a lot of people who have worked very hard to get us to this point.

Ning is my third company, founded several years ago by Gina Bianchini and myself, and run for the last couple years by my close friend and colleague Jason Rosenthal.  Over the last two years, Jason and his team have brilliantly executed a dramatic transformation of the company and today Ning hosts over 100,000 social networks covering every conceivable topic and interest, from 50 Cent to Sarah Palin and beyond. Ning’s mission has always been “your own social network for anything” and the team at Ning has worked hard to achieve this.

Glam is a company founded by longtime entrepreneur and innovator Samir Arora.  I first met Samir almost 15 years ago in his role as founder and CEO of NetObjects, one of the first, and best, web and e-commerce development systems, later bought by IBM.  Before that, Samir was a longtime senior contributor at Apple, where his work led to Apple’s famous “Knowledge Navigator” vision video and then later, through a long and winding road, to the Apple iPad.

In Glam, Samir and his outstanding team have built one of the leading premium content networks on the web.  Glam’s high-end content has amazing reach: 200 million users and 2.6 billion page views across 2,500 publishers, with advertising participation by 1,000 premium brands. Combining Ning’s social technology, user base, and 100,000+ networks will immediately boost Glam’s reach to 240 million users and 3.1 billion page views, add recurring subscription revenue to Glam’s business model, and most importantly, set up the combined company to be the leading social media content company on the web.

As consumer behavior broadly moves from old media to the web—as software eats content—the opportunity for high-end online content is gigantic and our combined company will be in the pole position in this huge market.  To that end, I am also delighted to announce that I will be joining the board of directors of Glam after the completion of the merger, which we expect to occur in the fourth quarter of 2011.  I’m thrilled to be able to work with Samir and his team at Glam, as well as Jason and his team from Ning, to build an amazing combined company.

Now, I owe some people huge thank you’s.

To Jason, the management team, and all of the wonderful current and former team members at Ning who have worked so hard to get us here, as well as our extremely supportive investors along the way, thank you so much. Working with you over these last several years has been one of the highlights of my life, and I look forward to working with you for years to come.

To Samir and the Glam team, thank you for building Glam into such a great company. I’m excited to pursue the huge combined opportunity with you.

Finally, a very special thank you to Gina, my cofounder and longtime friend and colleague, for all of your insight, innovation, hard work, and commitment going back all the way to the beginning.


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