Yodle acquisition of ProfitFuel ushers new independent local search engine marketing provider

Great news for ProfitFuel but I have to say that I’m skeptical of Yodle’s long term viability as a business–I’ll give them two more years before they go bust or some silly rather large company acquires them. Caveat though, they can improve if they are focused on the right things. Those right things are customer satisfaction, building endemic traffic, improved client service (shift from aggressive sales to business development), improved optimization and technology automation/development which they can do through either acquisitions or builds or both.

Yodle’s business (not local search) relies on the lack of knowledge of their customers which are predominantly SMBs. It’s not to say that they have succeeded in helping many small businesses but my take is that we should employ better solutions and tactics for SMBs as they are the backbone of the US economy. In the long term, a customer centric solution will provide Yodle improved brand satisfaction and higher margins. Also, for god sakes, to Yodle execs please shift commissions from just acquisition (revenue) and tie it to margins which would force a focus on quality, acquisition and retention. Let’s hope Yodle listens to this bloggers call or has shifted already to be on the customer satisfaction front through quality, innovation, content and technology. By the way, having scoured there NYC offices, and meeting a few folks, I don’t recall ever meeting true online marketers? Hmmm!

Here are a few relatively old feedback from various folks on the web:

Yodle, ReachLocal, Yext – Scams or Just Hard To Please Everybody?
Lawyerist.com: Yodle Takes the Hard Sell to a New Level
DavidPirek.com: Is Yodle a scam?

Also a good attempt to improve search reputation by the Yodle which may have been outsourced: Yodle Reviews.

Speaking of small businesses, I’d love to hear from you folks. Have you used Yodle or any other local search provider? What has been your experience? How have they succeeded? How have they not?

 

Yodle, a leader in local online marketing, announced it has completed a transaction to acquire ProfitFuel, Inc. ProfitFuel, based in Austin, TX, is the largest and fastest growing provider of local search engine optimization (SEO) services to small businesses across the United States. With over 11,000 clients, ProfitFuel has achieved breakout growth serving small businesses that have a moderate marketing budget. Outrank, the company’s main service, is designed to generate inbound phone calls and emails cost effectively by delivering prominent rankings on top search engines for clients.

“ProfitFuel’s dedication to customer results and sales excellence made it a natural fit with Yodle. I look forward to bringing Yodle’s expanded suite of SEM, SEO, Social and Display marketing products to market more quickly in collaboration with ProfitFuel’s world class team.”

Historically, Yodle has focused its local online marketing services on small business advertisers that typically spend larger budgets of $1,000+ monthly and national brand advertisers; Franchise, Multi-location, and Manufacturer/Dealer organizations that advertise locally across hundreds of locations. With the acquisition of ProfitFuel, Yodle now adds a product and a sales force capable of serving a much broader set of clients who have smaller marketing budgets, but who still want the accountability of measuring their marketing performance.

“With ProfitFuel, Yodle is doubling down on its approach of providing a clear ROI to the local advertiser, delivered through a combined 450 person sales and client service team,” said Yodle CEO Court Cunningham. “ProfitFuel’s dedication to customer results and sales excellence made it a natural fit with Yodle. I look forward to bringing Yodle’s expanded suite of SEM, SEO, Social and Display marketing products to market more quickly in collaboration with ProfitFuel’s world class team.”

David Rubin, previously CEO of ProfitFuel, will join Yodle as SVP of Sales. Mr. Rubin has a proven 20 year track record as a successful CEO and sales leader in the technology space. Prior to ProfitFuel, Mr. Rubin was founder and CEO of HomeCity, an online real estate brokerage that pioneered utilizing web-based content to acquire clients. Before founding HomeCity, David held leadership positions at various companies including Intraware as Vice President of New Services Development, BITSource as founder and CEO and Computize as National Sales Director.

“We felt Yodle was the perfect choice to maximize our future potential for our clients, employees and shareholders,” said Mr. Rubin. “We spoke to many companies in the industry and felt that Yodle offered the best set of products, highest caliber talent and the most comprehensive vision to outperform the competition and transform this industry for many years to come.”

Founded in 2000, ProfitFuel has 220 employees and is consistently recognized as one of the best places to work by multiple sources, including Austin Business Journal and Texas Monthly. Yodle will now boast a 300-person sales force and many more talented staffers across marketing operations, client services and corporate departments.

Yodle plans to grow ProfitFuel’s Austin, TX office, making it a major hub, and to fully integrate the company’s infrastructure and technology by year’s end.

About Yodle
Yodle, a leader in local online marketing and named #35 on the INC 500 List of fastest growing private companies in the U.S., connects thousands of local businesses with consumers in a process so simple and cost-effective that business owners can’t imagine any other way to advertise. Yodle has developed an integrated approach to signing up and serving local businesses that are transitioning their marketing budgets online. Yodle is headquartered in New York, NY.

Source: Yodle

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