Marchex Pays $20 Million for VoiceStar

Marchex continues to expand its local advertising and content capabilities with its acquisition of VoiceStar, the pay-per-call and call tracking company. The VoiceStar acquisition adds more than 100 local advertiser aggregators, including Comcast, The Cobalt Group, R.H. Donnelley/Dex, and YellowBook USA to Marchex’s current partner roster, which includes AT&T and Yellowpages.com.

Marchex also said that it has hired former About.com head Bill Day as its Chief Media Officer. Some of us got to know the talented Mr. Day when he served as Prodigy’s resident boy wonder in the early 1990s. The hiring should give the company a media sensibility that it –and most other local advertising companies — has sometimes lacked.

According to a company press release, Marchex is paying $20 million for VoiceStar — $12.9 million in cash, and the rest in options. It promises to dedicate another $8 million for corporate development. VoiceStar’s location will stay in Philadelphia. The release notes that VoiceStar’s 2008 revenues are expected to double from expected 2007 revenues of $1.5 million; and that doesn’t include cross-selling opportunities that are now possible with Marchex.

“We can now also add proprietary pay-per-phone-call advertising units to our network of local Web sites, which allows us to increase the direct monetization of our own properties,” notes Marchex’s Peter Christothoulou, per press release. The release also notes that VoiceStar “increases Marchex’s ability to directly monetize its… network of Web Sites, lessening its dependence on third-parties and increasing….. revenue (via) call-based advertising units.”