Glam Unveils ‘Owned & Operated’ Content System, Author-Centric Community

Glam Media, the lifestyle network currently the source of speculation as a likely IPO candidate, will offer sites it works with the option of handing over ownership of the content they create in exchange for Glam picking up the increasingly expensive hosting costs. Dubbed “GlamCreate,” the program is aimed at the smaller operations under its umbrella. Separately, the company is also opening up “GlamConnect,” a community for blog authors that is designed to foster more collaboration among its blogs as Glam looks to expand its “social ads” program. On top of all that, Glam has also officially launched its health and wellness vertical Bliss today.

GlamCreate: Like most blog networks, such as Federated Media, Glam doesn’t own the content, it just distributes and sells ads across the 4,000 sites that carry its banner. Some of those sites, especially smaller operations, are facing higher hosting costs related to video, among other things.

So GlamCreate offers to pick up those costs in exchange for ownership of the content. The detailed terms of the arrangements Glam is offering weren’t disclosed, but suffice to say, it will vary from site to site, though there will be compensation for authors. The company can expect about 1,000 of its 4,000 sites to sign on to the program. To sweeten the option, GlamCreate also provides a directory that allows authors and bloggers to showcase their current and past work in portfolios that are organized by specific verticals. The idea is that this will provide the kind of “long tail’ value smaller publishers are hoping to build over time, yet don’t have the internal resources to manage an effort to slowly gain attention.

GlamConnect: The other big feature being rolled out is kind of a LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) for blog writers, producers, readers and friends interested in working within a specific content vertical. But where LinkedIn allows even tenuous connections, Glam wants to keep the categories as narrow as possible to foster greater cross-pollination among its sites, where authors can work on posts or encourage more cross-linking.

“Social changes everything — in addition to large networks like Facebook and Google+ where anyone can be your friend — examples like jobs (LinkedIn); games (Zynga) and deals (Groupon) are trends of how social is transforming other industries,” said Samir Arora, Chairman and CEO of Glam Media in a statement. “In early 2010, Glam asked the question, how will social transform content & media? The result is Glam 2.0, a model for creating the next generation media company with Owned-&-Managed content and Professional Social Networking Platforms.”

The first of these “connect” communities will be structured around the new Bliss health vertical. It will ultimately be rolled out for all new sites and will soon expand to Glam’s other properties, which include the flagship Glam for Women and Brash for Men.