The Washington Post Newsweek Interactive, which announced last summer that it would create it's own vetted blog network, has signed up with startup Adify to manage the network and serve up ads across it. Adify lets publishers roll their own ad networks across different niche categories like travel, health, technology, and politics. The Washington Post will sell ads on the blogs using its existing sales force and relationships with advertisers. Lufthansa is the first advertiser to sign up. Adify CEO Larry Braitman tells me:
We are seeing that a lot of the traditional media companies as they shift into becoming digital media companies are looking to take their properties, expand their reach and become category killers.
So far the Washington Post has signed up about 100 blogs into its sponsored network, including Mr. Wave Theory, Profitable Signals, and Slacker Manager. But it is considering a total of 1,500, which could increase by 40 to 50 percent the number of monthly pageviews beyond its own sites where it can serve ads. And since the ads can be served into targeted content categories, Braitman says the ads command three to five times as much as a run-of-the-mill remnant ad on one of the bigger ad networks like DoubleClick. Instead of $1 to $2 CPMs (cost-per-thousand ads), he thinks his nichebuster approach can get $8 to $10 CPMs.