MerchantCircle Gets IAC Money, 250,000 ‘Members’

MerchantCircle is claiming a registered base of 250,000 small businesses. That’s a lot – a penetration of 4.8% of the 12 million U.S. businesses that advertise. It has also announced $10 million of new funding, adding the likes of IAC and Square 1 Bank to prior investors, who include Rustic Canyon Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Steamboat … Read more

Report: GeoSign Has Big Layoffs, Splits into 2 Units

One of the quietest but apparently most successful producers in the local search space has been GeoSign, owned by webpreneur Tim Nye. The Canadian company has incubated TrueLocal, which aggregates local online databases, and is also invested in mobile directory player Go2 , among other geospatially-savvy companies.  But most of its fortune, apparently, has been made from arbitrage: basically, … Read more

SmallTown Offers ‘WebCards’ Via Google Gadget Ads, Others

SmallTown, the Bay Area hyperlocal company, is changing its core focus and will concentrate mostly on getting wider distribution of its WebCards microsites for small businesses. While the nine person company will continue to maintain its hyperlocal sites, which are now in six Bay Area communities, it sees a bigger opportunity in having third parties such … Read more

Local Implications in NBC-U’s Purchase of The Weather Channel

NBC-U,along with Bain Capital and the Blackstone Group, have agreed to acquire The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications for a figure reported to be $3.5 billion. The deal is the first of several sell-offs for Landmark, which also hopes to sell Dominion Enterprises, a classifieds giant, and The Virginian Pilot newspaper.  Landmark had apparently been hoping to get $6 billion for The Weather Channel, which … Read more

Deutsche Bank Discontinues Local Media Coverage

In disappointing-but-not-unexpected news, Deutsche Bank has discontinued its coverage of local media (i.e. newspapers and television stations). Most of the companies in the space have lost 70-90 percent of their equity value over the past three months. Concurrent with the news was the layoff of a wave of analysts.  The first-rate reports from DB analysts like Paul … Read more

HelloMetro Rides Google’s City Name Keywords

One of the homespun stories of interactive local media is the rise of HelloMetro, a city guide company that started in 1999 as an entrepreneurial effort in Louisville, KY, and has since grown to include 15 staffers, including five direct salespeople.  The company, which has hundreds of Hello(City name) city guides, made $7.5 million in 2008. … Read more

CityVoter Bets on TV Partners for Review Site

With the probably exception of Yelp, standalone review sites haven’t figured out a way to make money. In the past year, InsiderPages was sold off to CitySearch, and Judy’s Book, famously, changed its model to coupons. So why would Josh Walker, Forrester’s former head of consumer research, dive into the game with both feet? Walker’s CityVoter, which … Read more

Acxiom Marketing Solutions Sold; What’s the Future of its SMB Listings?

Acxiom, one of the “big four” providers of SMB listings, along with InfoGroup, Localeze and Factual, is selling that SMB listings business along with the broader parent, Acxiom Marketing Services, to IPG, the ad agency/adtech giant. The $2.3 Billion transaction is slated to close at the end of 2018. The remaining, smaller part of Acxiom will … Read more

Tim Armstrong On DTC Growth: Look to Tier 2 Markets

Commerce beats media, and appeals to outgoing media executives looking for their next chapter. It was that way for IAC head Barry Diller, when he left Fox and took over QVC and HSN in the late 1990s. Following in his footsteps is former Oath/AOL leader and Google sales executive Tim Armstrong, who has started The DTX … Read more’s $2 Billion Sale; What It Says About The Value of SMB Platforms, a behemouth that has watched companies like MailChimp, Squarespace and Weebly grab the buzz in SMB platforms, is being tentatively sold to Siris Capital, a buy out firm, for $2 Billion — a 30 percent premium over its recent stock price. Counter-offers are being invited through August 5. launched in 1997 to provide off-the-shelf, … Read more