How Ashley financed her business.


Girls between the ages of 12 and 19 have an estimated $87 billion in buying power, according to market research firm TRU, and Ashley Qualls’s attracts millions of them each month.


What’s Free

So far, all the content: more than 2,600 social-networking page layouts that users cut and paste onto their MySpace and VampireFreaks profiles, as well as forums, advice columns, and Web-site-building tools.

What Pays

Advertising placed by Google AdSense–Ashley’s first source of revenue and still responsible for 60% of total revenue–and ValueClick Media, a smaller ad network. Rates depend on traffic and page views. Google’s cut is about 40%, Ashley says.

Nabbr splits revenue generated by its desktop widget, which plays music videos on the site. Ashley passes along to her fans CDs and signed photos of artists provided by Nabbr.

Businesses such as have contacted Ashley directly to advertise on her site. With no intermediary to take a cut, it’s far more lucrative.

What’s Next

Pitching potential direct advertisers. Plus, cell-phone wallpaper downloads for 99 cents to $1.99 apiece scheduled to launch by September.

About the author

Chuck Salter is a senior editor at Fast Company and a longtime award-winning feature writer for the magazine. In addition to his print, online and video stories, he performs live reported narratives at various conferences, and he edited the Fast Company anthologies Breakthrough Leadership, Hacking Hollywood, and #Unplug