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iCrossing buys UK SEO Outfit Spannerworks

iCrossing buys UK SEO Outfit Spannerworks

Textbook play here,  Demand Media‘s Richard Rosenblatt is Chairman of the Board at iCrossing ..   So iCrossing goes ahead and buys Spannerworks (in a deal valued at 40 million pounds) which goes ahead and does a bunch of SEO work on those Enom domains over at Demand Media that have recently gotten their eHow content. Something like that anyway.

Marchex is running similar play:  Marchex names —> Openlist Content —-> Traffic leader SEO

I haven’t seen the full Demand Media name list, but based on known and rumored name-asset acquisitions, Marchex has a better (higher quality) overall domain-name footprint.  Still, Richard Rosenblatt is one smart guy and his team (Sean Colo, Paul Stahura, John Kane, Courtney Montpas Sean Muller, etc etc etc etc) are absolutely first rate people.  So I predict a happy ending.

This entry was posted by Frank Schilling on Sunday, February 25th, 2007 at 4:35 PM and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Faisal Premji says:

    An interesting development that demonstrates the teutonic shift in usage of keyword domains — from doors to information to the end-destination

    What will the rise of vertical content result in? A few possibilities:

    a) Search engines always need grist for the mill…an increase in relevant content across the gamut of verticals only increases the value of the engine itself as more content increases a potential match to a user’s intent

    b) Search engines risk being ‘cut out’ in favour of ‘direct search’ via keywords…and therefore will discourage these verticals in favour of information vehicles with less cannibalization potential(wikipedia, etc.)

    c) Direct search simply becomes a piece of the pie when the user’s mindshare for search is concerned..people won’t stop using google, but they will consider direct search when thinking ‘search’ because of positive reinforcement via relevant content

    IMO c) is what everyone in this industry wants, nay, NEEDS to stay relevant…if direct search mindshare is increased, the ripple effect across every keyword is felt, and felt hard…millions of keyboards doing what they do best..with a .com at the end.

    I had a debate with a friend a while ago regarding what should come first in Direct Search..the destination (quality of results), or the branding (awareness of direct search as a tool)

    my view was that without relevancy to reinforce positive results, direct search was going nowhere fast (think ‘landing page fatigue’). his view was that without awareness of the technique, content didn’t matter

    I think the fatal blow in the argument was the fact that users already type-in domains – as you like to say Frank, it’s part of the exploratory nature and independence of Internet usage..people just like to explore..

    The increase in vertical sites based on keyword domains as relevant engine results will only reinforce the fact that RELEVANT content can be accessed via the direct search method, and hence reinforce repeat visits as the direct search method grabs a larger piece of search mindshare

    however – one must wonder what is better (and again, I use your words here Frank) – lots of moving parts (content, updates, etc.) or no moving parts (simple doors to information) mixed with a bit of relevancy control

    I think the latter is the ideal for the industry…but clearly, large players in the space are betting on mounds of content to win the day.

    only time will tell – but in the end, the teutonic increase in RELEVANCY vs. a PPC page will only positively reinforce direct search in the user’s mind, resulting in a massive trickle-down effect along the long tail of keywords, no matter if they are doors or destinations

    long-term trend that will confirm this (and one that is visible in small amounts now): domains with an increasing number of word combinations getting traffic – 0/mo, years ago, 10/mo now…and if the user is sufficiently reinforced, 100/mo very soon

    the real question – what is better, a huge content mill with moving parts, or simply leveraging the moving parts of others and keeping the largest chunk of the gold because of control of the traffic?

    whew :)

  2. Frank says:

    Very interesting stuff Faisal.

    I can tell you have been thinking about this for a while. I previously mentioned the name We manage alot of names like that. Big names that get very little type-in traffic (2-4 unique a day), but that have huge potential based on their meaning and the number of monthly searches for that phrase at search engines.

    So for argument sake: if you own 300,000 names like, each generating 4 uniques a day you would be getting 1,200,000 visits a day (33mm a month with dupes removed) and probably making very nice PPC revenue, but look how blindingly undervalued that asset is. You are only getting the bare din level of traffic possible.

    First the break up value selling names like sexualdysfunction to doctors clinics or pharmaceutical co’s is wayyyyy higher than the traffic value (even if you’re not in the name salers business, you recognize that you ‘could’ sell your names) Secondly, the upside in terms of traffic at an outrageously good name like that is huge. Put up some content .. put up a forum and BAMM !! you’ve got a very valuable portal with a building return visitor stream. The key to developing IMO is doing it in a cost effective manner as the tools become available.

    Rush to develop and you waste money. Development happens on its own terms as the timing and opportunity presents itself. Buying names however is a moment in time.. and although prices are up, we are still in that moment right-now IMO. Those long tail names with High search volume are gold IMO and the oportunity is still there to garner them.

  3. Franky Tong says:

    >>>Buying names however is a moment in time.. and although prices are up, we are still in that moment right-now IMO. Those long tail names with High search volume are gold IMO and the oportunity is still there to garner them.< <<

    Damn, if everyone thinks like you prices will only go further up and I won’t be able to buy many more names anymore! Just kidding :) Thanks for re-assuring what we’ve all been doing (buy names) over the years. It feels good when the best in business tells you that you’re on the right track.