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Sugar Adds 20 Ad Reps After NBCU Separation


Not a bad bunch

Two weeks ago, Sugar, Inc. — the parent company of celeb gossip site PopSugar — ended its exclusive ad-serving partnership with NBCU.

To justify the break, CEO Brian Sugar argued the online ad market is being divided between publishers that rely on ad networks, and those that control ad development and sales processes, reports MediaPost.

"As people get smarter about ad networks, they're going to realize their limitations, and that if you want to really make brands shine you have to do it yourself," said Sugar.

Sugar, Inc. launched in April '06, a year after the debut of its first blog, celeb gossip site PopSugar. The network now boasts 17 blogs with 4.6 million unique visitors worldwide, mostly women.

NBCU began selling ads across the sites last summer. Its cut? 50 percent of ad revenue.

"It was multiyear deal, but it had clauses which we triggered," Sugar said. "We knew we'd [end the relationship] one day, but definitely not this early."

Pending Sugar's timely divorce from NBCU, the company plans to hire 20 ad sales reps and continue growing.

"The response we've been getting from agencies over the last two weeks has been amazing," said Sugar. "The level of integration we're pursuing is really in line with what agencies are pitching to clients."

Lauren Zalaznick, who leads the Women and Lifestyle Entertainment division of NBCU, shall remain on Sugar, Inc.'s board. While NBCU reportedly took the departure amiably, it cannot have been good news for the network. Its main rival in the Women and Lifestyle Entertainment sector is Glam Media, which is growing in leaps and bounds.

The latter launched an open application platform last month, following the debut of its display and video ad exchange.

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