Tag Archives: Intuit

SMB Digital Marketing: DemandForce’s Barry — It’s All About Apps, Networks and Workflow

DemandForce’s CMO Patrick Barry suggested during his keynote address at SMB Digital Marketing in Chicago today that Intuit’s $434 Million acquisition of his company last year might be meant “to connect every small business to any consumer via a single click. That’s the vision of digital marketing,” he said.

Currently, there is a “blurry” world of SMB services. You’ve got applications, which are basically “software tools that drive efficiencies,” noted Barry. They are the “last mile” that must grab consumers attention spans, and there are thousands of workflow applications being used by SMBs, he said. Intuit services such as Quicken have six million customers. Others involve workflow data: schedule, availability of inventory, work status, revenue, transactions, history and quality.

You’ve also got networks, which drive services around the notion of community. Apps and network aend up being the key parameters. People talk a lot about cloud computing, but “that’s just a method of distribution,” said Barry. Services need to engage networks. You can no longer base your marketing on simply having “a nice clean Yellow Pages ad.”


First Person: Signing Up for Google and Intuit’s ‘Get Your Business Online’

Google has been taking out major newspaper ads to promote its new “Get Your Business Online” initiative, a partnership with Intuit that lets SMBs claim a place, update information and provides a free web site. It is a strong effort to get more SMBs online, and buying services. More than 14 states are up and running.

According to BIA/Kelsey’s Local Commerce Monitor survey of online SMBs, 66 percent now have websites, although the overall percentage of SMBs with websites is probably lower.

I saw a series of ads for the effort in The Los Angeles Times. The ad listed as the LA Area Chamber of Commerce, the LA County Business Federation, The NFIB, the California Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Score and Intuit as partners. The ad copy promised that “It’s easy. Really fast. And really free.”

In smaller type, it notes that the free website includes domain name and hosting for one year. To me, that doesn’t qualify for “really free,” but it is still a good deal.

The ads were timed to coincide with a series of southern California workshops for SMBs. One of them had more than 1,000 sign ups.

Although I don’t need a new website, I decided to see what was behind the curtain. After clicking past an introductory page that had some SMB tutorials, the site offered to let me sign in via my Gmail account, which was automatically rendered.

What was offered was a “free, easy to build Intuit website; free customized domain name; free web hosting for one year; and free online tools and training.” After the first year, it is $4.99 a month and your domain name is $2 a month – which adds up to $96 a year.

If you already have a domain name, like me, you can import it for free. The hosting alone makes this a great deal. I currently pay about $120 a year for Host Gator (which does a great job.)

The service is also promoting a website search engine boost for $4.99 a month, which promises to submit content for constant updating and improved search ranking. Interestingly, this offer did not appear today when I checked on the site, but it was prominently displayed on Sunday.

I didn’t submit my credit card and won’t get a site at this time. Knowing me, I’d probably forget to cancel it. But the service is clearly set to boost SMB penetration, and will not only help SMBs get online, but also help Google and Intuit sell a lot of services once the SMBs are locked in.

Intuit SMB Services Buys BooRah, Will Add Reviews

Intuit has purchased BooRah, a ratings and review site, and will add its functionality to the Intuit small business platform, which has also incorporated the old StepUp ecommerce site and Homestead website construction services. The companies aren’t talking much about the deal, which closed yesterday.

BooRah recently changed strategy, moving away from a reliance on powering alternative weeklies and towards building up its own site, and syndicating its content. InfoUSA and Kosmix.com, for instance, have integrated BooRah reviews into their offerings.

The company has also been adding promotional offers in the form of contextual ads from Entertainment.com, ValPak and Restaurant.com. Recently, it also unveiled a restaurant reputation package, which charged restaurants $14.95 to find reviews and manage responses, and added smart phone access as well. The site has been serving 35 metro areas, including 14 that have been recently launched.

It can be said that BooRah pioneered semantic evaluations of whether reviews are positive or negative, and then counting up “votes.” But the semantic review field has become a crowded one recently, with such entrants as Marchex’s OpenList and UrbanSpoon. All of them compete against mass sites such as Citysearch and Yelp.

(Thanks to Screenwerk for pointing out the BooRah announcement).

Stepup Alum Launches DriverSide, a Car Maintenance Site

There is a sudden glut of sites that allow people to register their cars and get specific service information and recommendations about them.

First, there was AutoByTel’s MyRide. RepairPal launched last week. This week, it is DriverSide, which is being developed by Jad Dunning, an executive with StepUp through its acquisition by Intuit, and Trevor Traina. The site, which has 20 staffers and is funded by Catamount Ventures, is designed to meet consumer needs between purchases and simplify automotive ownership. “We want consumers to make good decisions wherever they are in the cycle,” says Dunning.

DriverSide is geared around mainstream drivers rather than high end enthusiasts. It also has focused on localized needs, such as servicing. “We engineer around each brand on the road. “If you have a 2005 Camry, with 45,000 miles in Emeryville, you will need advice on when you need typical repairs and where to go,” says Dunning. “You may have specific questions about Camrys. We build communities around each model.

“Not everyone loves their car,” Dunning adds. “But everyone has a relationship with their car.”

In addition to providing car specific information, the site also provides editorial content that it is developing in-house, as well as syndicated content from Car and Driver, Road and Track, CNET and ZPinions. Its editorial leader is Jon Alain Guzik, Yahoo! Autos’ former editor in chief. User reviews and feedback is also being solicited. “We took a page from Yahoo! Answers,” says Dunning.

Dunning acknowledges that there are some similarities with other car sites, but says that DriverSide was uniquely developed, and isn’t as oriented around enthusiast stuff or selling leads. Users are encouraged to do a variety of things on and off the site. “ In our research, we found that the major sites are focused on helping you buy and sell. Once they get you in the funnel, they never want you to leave.

But leads are a big part of the model, in addition to advertising. To Dunning, “the service leads are even more important than sales leads.” Relationships are being formed with local sealers, independent shops, parts and accessories vendors and with manufacturers. He also expects to sell ads to such auto ecosystem players as insurance companies, financial companies and oil companies.