In online ad space, blank-faced hipsters in panties prove powerful

American Apparel, a trendy youth-focused retailer based in Los Angeles, has been named the top online apparel retailer by ComScore. Big surprise: a quarter of its ads go on MySpace.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy
2 min read
A sample piece of American Apparel ad inventory.

It's no surprise to anyone who reads blogs about celebrity gossip, nightlife, indie music, or pretty much any other niche of pop culture: American Apparel, the Los Angeles-based retailer infamous for bringing back the '80s aerobics look, has been named by ComScore as the top apparel outlet in the online ad world.

In other words, that means their ads, many of which feature nubile young models clad in just about nothing, are freaking everywhere on the Web.

A total of 483,389,000 American Apparel ad impressions were seen across the Web in April, reaching a whopping 48,887,000 unique visitors according to ComScore. That's far ahead of the No. 2 advertiser, sports-duds manufacturer Under Armour, which chalked up 311,528,000 impressions. No. 3 was SnorgTees, an online t-shirt retailer known for having a really cute girl modeling its creations.

Sports-related retailers and t-shirt outlets make up the bulk of the rest of the list, with Nike, BustedTees, Skechers, and NFLShop.com all making ComScore's list of the top 14 apparel advertisers.

So where does American Apparel chuck its ads: On the social networks that its young customers fill up with photos of themselves. Fox Interactive Media, which owns MySpace, is American Apparel's top advertiser, making up nearly a quarter of the retailer's ad impressions. Facebook was next with 18 percent, followed by AOL (which owns Bebo) with 12.5 percent, and Photobucket with 6.1 percent. Less than 2 percent apiece were each devoted to Yahoo, Google, Amazon, eBay, creative community DeviantArt, and Time Warner's non-AOL sites.

Not encompassed in ComScore's stats: American Apparel's racy print and billboard ads that have caused quite a stink.