Got Funds? $10M for Mid-Tail Monetization Buddy Lijit

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money_tree_small.jpgADOTAS – I was impressed when Lijit COO Walter Knapp explained to me how the company provides the “business end of a CMS platform” for mid- and long-tail niche publishers with highly engaged audiences. In exchange for site functionality widgets (e.g., search, analytics, readers, etc.), Lijit collects data and segments audiences to advise sites on how to monetize audience, possibly through a non-exclusive ad-serving partnership.

Investors also seem to be enthusiastic about Lijit’s business model as the company just closed a $10 million financing round led by Highway 12 Ventures, with participation from existing investors Foundry Group, Boulder Ventures and Colorado Fund I (managed by High Country Venture).

“Influential midsize publishers are incredibly important to top advertisers based on the highly engaged audiences they attract,” said Mark Solon, managing partner of Highway 12 Ventures. “Lijit serves this segment of publishers with innovative tools, analytics, and monetization alternatives to Google AdSense.”

Very well put, Mr. Solon. Lijit’s publisher network now includes 17,000 sites (compared to 15,000 when I interviewed Knapp in February) that boast 1.5 billion monthly pageviews and 106 million uniques. Lijit says transactions on its advertising services platform, which was only introduced eight months prior, have jumped 74% since fourth quarter 2010. The investment will go toward continuing expansion of the publisher network and further adoption of its ad services platform.

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