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NY-based CafeMom has announced the launch of a new ad network today. The CafeMom Plus Ad Network could help CafeMom sell more ads by selling not only into CafeMom but into a variety of other mom-related websites. The other sites in the network include: Greatschools.net, Sittercity.com, Education.com, Baby-Gaga.com, BettyConfidential.com, SavvySource.com and BabySpot.com.
CafeMom notes that the new Plus Ad Network will reach 8 million unique visitors a month. Back in January, Burst Media launched a moms ad network.
In other CafeMom news, Aimee Higgins joins CafeMom from MySpace as SVP, Sales Strategy and Creative Services.
Google Trends shows CafeMom dropping in traffic month-over-month since the summer:
NY-based CafeMom relaunched their social networking and content site this week. CafeMom focuses on moms and their needs. The major updates include a full rewrite of the backend to improve reliability and performance along with a focus on the future so they can support more partnerships and the needs of their sponsors.
I notice an overall ad reduction on the homepage. The design is fresh and welcoming. I spoke with Matt Zarzecki from CafeMom and he shared the following regarding the relaunch:
- Navigation overhaul – making it easier to find what moms are looking for – navigation changes seem to be pretty popular this year
- Wider site to accomodate more content and more ads/sponsors
When I interviewed the team at CafeMom, they shared stats including 2.7 million uniques and over 100 million pageviews per month. Google Trends shows about half of that in unique visitors per month.
CafeMom is co-founded by Andrew Shue from the TV show Melrose Place and has raised $20 million to-date.
NY-based CafeMom has announced a new round of funding in the amount of $12 million. The round was co-led by the company’s original investors Highland Capital Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Including this new round, the company has raised $20.3 million to-date.
CafeMom is working with some of the largest CPG companies and retailers in the U.S. including: Walmart, Playskool, Disney, HP, Kraft, General Mills, Nestle, Unilever, JCPenney, Johnson & Johnson and Best Buy. I spoke with head of design Matt Zarzecki who explained that custom campaigns average between $200,000 and $500,000.
The site is currently running over 120 million pageviews per month with 6 million visitors. CafeMom is an interesting startup for me to watch given my history in the CPG online business and having been involved in a similar site from inside a CPG company. Moms are one of the "richest" segments online and CafeMom has done an excellent job capitalizing on this demographic. I put them on acquisition watch last week.
Check out my interview with two of the executives from CafeMom.
With AOL’s acquisition of Bebo yesterday, and now discussion of a possible KickApps acquisition by AOL, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some other content candidates for AOL acquisition. If AOL is going to get serious about stepping back into the major leagues, they need more top notch content sites. All of these acquisition ideas would work well with Userplane, AIM, ICQ and Bebo, all AOL-owned companies.
This NY-based startup is targeted at moms and would be an excellent complement for AOL’s branded Web sites. CafeMom is currently serving 100 million pageviews and an average of 200 pages per user per month. This would make a great place for Platform-A and could be an extension for the Bebo "engagement marketing" platform. (our coverage)
A niche social network for barking and meowing, Dogster and Catster could fit into the AOL branded sites as well. An acquisition of Dogster and Catster by AOL would give both sites new distribution opportunities along with a new advertising partner. (our coverage)
I am guessing that a decent percentage of TripAdvisor users are already AOL customers, either as dial-up, broadband or Web site visitors. TripAdvisor is currently owned by Expedia but I think the match would be better with AOL — could replace the AOL Travel site. The TripAdvisor network serves pages to 60 million unique visitors a month and includes 8 web sites including my favorite, SeatGuru. (our coverage)
It seems in the time since I started CN there’s been chatter here and there about SimplyHired being acquired by someone. It’s a better acquisition target than going after a job site as SimplyHired would give AOL the best of both worlds: all the job listings from the major job boards plus the ability to enhance listings to generate even more revenue. The publisher job board option would give AOL a potential "in" to publishers to push Platform A and other potential partnerships. (our coverage)
Which services do you think would be a good fit for AOL?
Editor’s note: KickApps is a sponsor on our sister site, HTMLCenter.
Yesterday I met with CafeMom execs Paul Bannister and Matt Zarzecki. Paul is SVP and runs everything but sales and Matt focuses on design and user experience. CafeMom is a social networking site for moms. On March 18, 2008, CafeMom announced a new round of funding.
CafeMom has a celebrity co-founder in Andrew Shue. Andrew is best known for living next to Amanda and Jane on Melrose Place. Parent company CMI Marketing began operations in 1999 and promoted their ClubMom brand which Matt described as the "AARP for moms" – basically a membership club like Upromise. They had the ups and downs of Web 1.0.
In 2006 the company decided to start CafeMom and Paul split from the CMI main organization, took seven employees with him and began work on CafeMom. The initial site took seven weeks to launch and officially went live on November 15, 2006. They started their marketing plan in January 2007 and today report over 100 million pageviews per month and 2.3 million unique visitors per month. The average member loads 160-200 pages per month. In my past life I spent many years marketing to moms online and this is one of the most lucrative sectors as moms believe that using the Internet is their "me" time.
They struggled with targeting a specific type of mom or going after all moms. They decided with the all moms option and 97% of the CafeMom traffic is U.S. based. The team is currently 45 people.
One of the topics we discussed was revenue and Paul made a very true statement that ad sales lag pageview growth by 3-6 months. Their marketing plan focuses on MySpace and SEM keyword buys on Google. I asked about why MySpace and Paul noted that MySpace allows CafeMom to target ads directly to moms with kids providing for a very high ROI.
Matt spoke about their internal process of "how can we find what’s designed for geeks and then apply it to moms". He also said that the site is Web 1.5 as they have a combination of old and new to provide the optimum user experience. Paul quickly responded by suggesting that CafeMom is more Web 2.0 without the geek speak. Their main competitior is Maya’s Mom.
They closed the conversation by noting that they are in a good place now and "people want a good site that offers value."