WebVisible CEO Ron Burr: Focus is on Sustainability and Growth

SMB reseller WebVisible went through difficult changes last year, downsizing from 320 to 130 employees and retreating from an ambitious direct marketing program. But it has kept core partners intact; key members of the CEO’s installed executive team have stayed intact; and the company has aggressively ramped up its technology program. It is now poised for sustainability and growth, according to CEO Ron Burr, who took over from co-founder Kirsten Mangers last September.

“We made some expensive mistakes on the direct business,” says Burr, former head of NetZero, who joined WebVisible last year. “We took our eye off the ball on our partner business. But now we are refocusing on our channel partners.” In addition to keeping key accounts such as McClatchy and BT, WebVisible recently won the account for Recruit, a $10 billion Japanese company with 12 media properties.

Burr notes that all through the strife, the company has maintained revenues of roughly $25 million. Roughly 70 percent of revenue was U.S. based, and 30 percent was international. This year, the ratio should be 60 percent U.S., and 40 percent international. There should also be 10 percent revenue growth in 2011.

The growth is partially attributable to the rollout of a more efficient, cloud-based tech platform, and new technology that allows the company to “understand the effectiveness of particular keyword structures in a campaign, and how they concert to action by consumers, whether phone calls or clicks. The tech results in a 30 percent increase in effectiveness, says Burr. WebVisible is also focused on providing customers a centralized database for local advertising, whether it is tracking Groupon, clicks or email marketing. “It all needs to co-exist,” says Burr.

“The interesting thing about the pure plays in this space…ReachLocal, Yodle and WebVisible…is that nobody’s made it to profitability,” adds Burr. “That’s the tack we are tacking now. Run this company profitably with a viable business strategy.”

2 thoughts on “WebVisible CEO Ron Burr: Focus is on Sustainability and Growth

  1. This is a fluff piece. Why didn’t you interview some of the many executives like John Rosen, Jason Gardner, Veena Chillar, Kevin Ryan, Bill Lupo, (or go back farther to the merry go round of CTO’s and VP’s of Engineering) etc. who were rolled out of there? This organization has had more turn over at the top then a jar of organic peanut butter. Most members of the current executive team have been there less a year or more, but they came in with Burr. With the exception of Paul Basile, the entire eTeam has changed since August of 2009. The other point to make is that a number of the 130 positions remaining are in India. The other companies (ReachLocal especially) are focusing on US innovation and expansion. Did you do any due diligence before posting this ‘press release’ from Burr???

  2. There were some comments sent in on this post, both for and against the current leadership at WV; the one below called it a “Fluff Piece” for Ron Burr. The comments, several of which are published at blog.kelseygroup.com, heavily criticized (and defended) WebVisible’s new direction. My own editorial judgement is that sometimes it is better to let a company’s leader articulate his or her views without any editorializing. I know I found Burr’s comments to be worth writing about.

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