Gay Ad Network, a vertical online advertising network, launched today with support from an influential group of gay and lesbian publishers.  

Local gay newspapers, national gay magazines, gay content web sites and popular gay social networking services have aligned to create a new online media platform for national advertisers.  With more than two dozen independent publisher partners representing over 200 web sites, Gay Ad Network offers advertisers mass reach into the gay market.
 
The gay online advertising business has grown by an average of 33 percent annually over the past five years.  Once concentrated on a few gay portals, the gay online audience is now fragmented across mainstream social networking sites and a large number of smaller gay information, news, community and niche social networking sites designed for the various segments of the gay market. Gay Ad Network aggregates these fragmented communities under one umbrella, providing online media planners an easy, efficient way to reach a large segment of the gay and lesbian market.
 
Launch partners represented by Gay Ad Network include Window Media properties including Washington Blade, Southern Voice, New York Blade, Express South Florida, David Atlanta and Genre Magazine; RealJock.com, a health and fitness web site for gay men; Out in America Network, a collection of local content web sites, Connexion.org, a social networking service for gays and lesbians; OutSports, a gay sports community; GayCities, a gay travel community; Windy City Times; Bay Windows; Pride Source, Philadelphia Gay News; JustMen; TheLWordOnline.com; GayOrbit; !!omgblog!!; GayWeddings.com; Bgay.com; GayWebSource; The DataLounge; and ProudParenting.com, a gay parenting network.
 
Gay Ad Network was founded by Mark Elderkin, a 13-year industry veteran and pioneer in developing gay online advertising and subscription-based businesses. As president of PlanetOut, Inc. (NASDAQ: LGBT), Mark was responsible for global advertising sales, online editorial and business partnerships. Prior to his role with PlanetOut, he was CEO and founder of Gay.com, which he built into the largest gay online community.

"Independent web publishers have been successful in creating great quality content and attracting loyal and passionate audiences, but they have been less effective in attracting national advertisers due to their limited individual size," said Elderkin.  "By developing content-rich marketing programs that span our aggregated audience, we can provide unique marketing vehicles for our advertising partners."
 
Unlike automated ad networks, Gay Ad Network provides 100 percent transparency in ad delivery, so advertisers can be confident that their brand advertising appears to the right customers in the appropriate environments. Gay Ad Network also offers advertisers a chance to associate their brands with high-quality content and loyal audiences to ensure effective campaigns. According to Harris Interactive/Witeck-Combs Communications, 64 percent of gay Americans are more likely to buy products that are directly marketed to them in gay media. Additionally, DoubleClick reports that 68 percent of gay web users are between the ages of 18 and 34 and are generally better educated, highly paid and have more discretionary income than average Americans.
 
"Our premiere national magazine and newspaper brands attract a loyal, affluent audience across both our print and online products," said William R. Kapfer, PhD., co-president, Window Media. "Now as part of Gay Ad Network we have gained another layer of online sales expertise, aggregated reach, and the broad agency and client visibility we need to continue to attract high-profile brands and their national online campaigns."
 
Gay Ad Network selected Adify's Build Your Own Network (BYON) platform as the technical foundation for its offering. Adify enables Gay Ad Network to forge relationships between its advertising and publisher partners by delivering the backend infrastructure to build and manage a vertical advertising solutions capable of delivering content sponsorships, image and rich media ad delivery. Adify provides the key network management services required to execute successful advertising campaigns, including ad management, tracking, reporting, billing, payment and technical support functions.
 

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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