Short Takes: FM Buys Lijit, Rethinks Network Model

When Federated Media Publishing launched back in 2006, it was a pretty straightforward proposition. Founder and former Wired and Industry Standard publisher John Battelle saw an opportunity with the rise of independent Web content creators to represent them in an outsourced publishing function — and act as a filter for advertisers to find indie voices with real audiences.

FM still does that, but its purchase of Lijit yesterday confirms that the network model is undergoing changes. FM still hangs its hat on “conversational” marketing programs that require heavy lifting by a sales team. But Lijit provides FM with a monetization technology used by many medium-sized and small sites. FM plans to dip its toes into real-time bidding by using Lijit to let advertisers buy on its indie sites in an efficient manner.

It’s a smart move to realize that media buying is changing. Just repping small sites with a sales force isn’t a great business. After all, just note that FM’s alumni list — sites that ended up moving on from using its services — includes TechCrunch and Mashable.

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