Tag Archives: clickable

Local Onliner Bookshelf: David S. Kidder’s ‘The Startup Playbook’

The startup ethos is something that a lot of companies want to emulate: the constant drive and hustle, passion and ruthlessness of it all. We are many years from the first dot com explosion, but I still have a habit of checking corporate parking lots after dinner to see how many people are doing all-nighters.

What can we learn by talking to the “winners” in business about their startup experiences? How can we transform what we focus on, how we scale for growth — and how we work with our colleagues?

These are questions not only for the Future Stars of local media and commerce, but for all the established companies that would like to reinvigorate their dusty, musty ways. And they are the questions posed by serial entrepreneur David S. Kidder.

After raising $32.5 Million for his startup, Clickable, from the likes of Amex (and then successfully exiting with a sale to Syncapse,) Kidder says he had come to realize that he had to update his “playbook.”

Kidder’s solution: go out and talk to 50 business and philanthropic leaders about what their playbooks were for success. And failure. Among the executives were many of the tech luminaries who may have known once who have gone on to spectacular success: people like Elon Musk, of Zip2, PayPal, Tesla and Space X fame; Kevin Ryan, from DoubleClick and Gilt City; Reid Hoffman, from LinkedIn; and Steve Case, from AOL and Living Social.

The results are captured in his new bestseller, The Startup Playbook. Topics range from product development to team building and HR; from investors to culture, design, marketing, finance, crisis management and more.

“The playbook I began with simply wasn’t robust enough to capture all the extremes of taking a company from its fledging roots, when you are solving five to ten challenges at a time, to a much larger company, where you are suddenly required to juggle hundreds of problems, often instantaneously,” Kidder writes.

Kidder confirms many things that I have long suspected in this totally fascinating book. Among them: That startup people are completely irrational and self deluded; that they will do anything to keep ALL of their options open. And with the expansion of tech tools, they are the stuff of the next generation’s success. As Kidder cites blogger Chris Dixon: “Building a startup will be the homeownership of the next century.”

Kidder is customizing highlights from The Startup Playbook for his Keynote at BIA/Kelsey’s “Leading in Local: The National Impact” conference in Boston March 18-20. You can register here.

Amex’s Rob Ciccone Discusses Entry into Local Search

American Express Open is making a series of moves to extend its massive list of SMB credit card customers into broad marketing relationships that will fully leverage Amex’s powerful brand and relationships. The potential for Amex to be a marketing one stop has always been there. As InfoSpace Founder Naveen Jain noted in 2000, Amex is so big that its reach into SMBs could be bigger for partners than “all the Yellow Pages companies combined.”

The latest move is enter the local search wars, going up against the Yellow Pages; third party resellers like ReachLocal, Yodle, WebVisible and Orange Soda; and direct customers of Google AdWords itself. The effort, which is a partnership with Clickable, extends earlier efforts that provide SMBs with online payment processing; comprehensive insurance information; and international payment and wire transfers.

According to VP of Business Solutions Rob Ciccone, it is all part of an effort to “provide a portfolio of tools to help SMBs grow revenue. We have excellent knowledge of SMB needs,” and “a very large customer base,” he says. Those are supplemented by non-customers who are users of Amex’s OpenForum site, which provides articles and boards and email links for a wide variety of SMB topics.

The Search Manager product itself has some advantages for SMBs, adds Ciconne. Most notably, it uses Clickable to manages search across multiple search engines, including not only Google, but Yahoo, Bing and Facebook as well. The product also includes a daily recommendation feature for improving campaigns. SMBs that don’t want to manage their own campaigns can use Search Manager Assist, although that carries a higher premium of 8 percent to 10 percent per month. The price of unassisted search is five percent of ad spend, or $49 per month – whichever one is higher.

The search products are initially being promoted at trade shows and to the credit card and OpenForum list. They include a 30 day free trial.

NY Magazine Uses Local Search to Extend Wedding Content Views, Other Verticals

New York Connects, the local “content discovery” project launched late last year by New York Magazine and Clickable, has seen definite progress since its launch last December, according to NYmag.com General Manager Michael Silberman. Silberman spoke to us as part for a broad profile on NYmag.com’s extensive vertical efforts being issued in BIA/Kelsey’s Marketplaces program.

New York Connects enables local businesses to tap into the power of search keyword advertising through easy-to-understand lead generation tactics. Advertisers who sign up get a search campaign optimized for their business to drive qualified leads, a customized landing page and a dashboard to track leads, conversion and ROI.

Initial categories include weddings and dentists, which are frequently featured in New York Magazine. New York Connects makes the multi-category weddings franchise a year round money maker, taking it well beyond the twice-yearly special issues, says Silberman. Home design and spa services are also likely to be added this summer.

Clickable Integrates Facebook Ads, Analytics with Search Platform

Clickable has announced that it will add support for Facebook advertising that allows its Pro users to directly compare social and search results. The effort follows initiatives by rival “search resellers” like ReachLocal, Yodle and Orange Soda to broaden their platforms for organic search and display.

It also comes after accounts from Hitwise and others that Facebook is responsible for more traffic to portals, newspaper sites and even IYPs than Google News (although not Google generally).

On the Clickable blog, CEO David Kidder forms a position that that “search and social advertising are complimentary. On Facebook, advertisers can be out ahead of the market. Every piece of information that a social networking user provides about themselves is an opportunity for marketers to learn about and target their audience: age and gender; college and occupation; hobbies and interests and relationship status,” he says. “These are the raw materials with which to build targeting ‘personas,’ every one a new potential customer.”

New York Magazine Signs with Clickable’s Search + Display Platform

New York Magazine, whose online effort is run by longtime MSNBC.com exec Michael Silberman, has emerged as one of the most ambitious city magazine efforts on the Web, competing directly against city guides and other local services. Yesterday, the site, which leverages a sales force of 100, announced a partnership with Clickable to power its local advertising.

Clickable itself is gaining steam. The company has expanded beyond its roots in vertical search to include a platform that includes display ad management as well. Last week, it announced a similar deal with Fox Audience Network.

CEO David Kidder tells us that more than 2000 sites are currently using the Clickable platform, which provides access t o Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Kidder says that Fox is rolling out the platform in two phases. The first phase will utilize Clickable’s performance-based model. It is a lot of strategic positioning for their inventory, and integration. The second phase will include several enhanced features, including click to call.

Clickable Aims Local, Focuses on ‘Scaleable’ Sales Solutions

Clickable, a third party online search manager, says that local search packages are too heavily marked up, with too little emphasis on conversions. It is re-aiming to fix these problems with a “highly scaleable” local solution for publishers and resellers. The “Clickable Platform” is supported by an 85 person team, of which 55 are dedicated to the local initiatives.

Buying into the effort is Franchise Company Solutions, which manages online advertising and marketing for franchise businesses. Clickable already works with the lawyer market via Lexis Nexis, and the classifieds marketplace via a deal with The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Philly.com. Apparently set to follow are other local media players, including local TV stations and cable TV players.

By refocusing on local – albeit mostly larger local accounts — the Clickable Platform is aimed at local-oriented segments already served by the likes of Marchex, ReachLocal, Yodle, WebVisible, Mediatraks and Orange Soda. If you measure success by churn, these companies haven’t been especially successful to date, says CEO David Kidder. Up to “90 percent of local customers are churning,” he says.

Kidder adds that a major reason for the churn is their high costs. The markup on search campaigns is so high in some cases that only forty percent of expenditures are going into the campaign. “At that price point, you give them very little value,” says Kidder. “It is a junk business.”

Kidder claims that the Clickable Platform allows for seventy percent to go into campaigns — an improved cost efficiency, by his count, of 30 percent. One reason for Clickable’s improved results, he says, is that the company is more focused on selling successful conversions in the marketplace, rather than simply soliciting a bunch of leads and clicks, which may or may not have relevance.

‘Clickable’ Provides SMBs With Search Management

To the ranks of Marchex Connect, WebVisible, ReachLocal, Yodle, Metrix4Media, Orange Soda and others add Clickable, a pay per click and search “dashboard” company that has attracted $23 million in venture funding from Founders Fund, Union Square Ventures and FirstMark Capital.

The company’s vision is to focus on an Omniture-like dashboard for larger local businesses such as auto dealers and hospitals. Typicall, these have search budgets in the neighborhood of $50K per year.

The dashboard tracks the performance of every campaign, while adding useful information such as performance tips (“Add a title!”) and columns from search consultants. It also enables people to map, rate and track their leads. The basic idea of the dashboard is to provide an intuitive tool for people who know how to use Google, while putting all the information in one space, notes VP of Marketing Max Kalehoff.

Clickable, which has been incubating for two years, has formed its first partnerships with several key players, including Lexis Nexis. It envisions forming similar partnerships among SMB and vertical players. For smaller players, the company has developed Clickable Express, which provides many similar features but is tailored more towards the Mom and Pop market.