Search-Centric ICrossing Enlists Socially Minded Pluck
With social networking increasing at the core of online activity, even the search-centric iCrossing has realized the need to adapt.
"Consumers are creating and shaping their own social spaces, and brands must increasingly learn how to live within those networks," said Adam Lavelle, chief strategy officer at iCrossing.
Powering some 2 billion monthly social media interactions, Pluck and its SiteLife platform offer social networking technology and services deployed on roughly 200 destinations, including USAToday.com, Circuitcity.com, Scotts.com, WashingtonPost.com and Discovery.com.
According to Lavelle, iCrossing chose to work with Pluck based on the proven track record of its SiteLife platform, which facilitates reader blogs, photo sharing, content ratings, reader comments, and forums.
Last year, for example, Pluck helped the Gannett-owned USA Today to successfully relaunch its Web site as a social network laden with video, blogs, dynamic content-sharing and recommendation tools. In just a month, the site saw a dramatic 380% increase in registrations, while its unique visitor rates grew 21%, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.
Pluck also runs a BlogBurst blog syndication network serving up content to major news outlets, magazines and broadcast networks worldwide.
iCrossing's existing digital marketing offerings include Web analytics and social media analyses that provide insight into what drives user attention, engagement and influence around brands online.
"It's going to be a matter of them taking our platform capabilities and adapting it to their customer's needs," said Adam Weinroth, director of products at Pluck.
For the past two years, the company has been on an acquisition binge backed by some $120 million in financing. Most recently, iCrossing acquired German search and affiliate shop 3GNet in April.
iCrossing, however, missed the chance to scoop up Pluck, which in March was bought by media holding company Demand Media for a reported $75 million in cash. Pluck previously raised $10 million in two rounds of funding in late 2004.
Demand Media, which was founded by former MySpace CEO Richard Rosenblatt, has been busy picking up content sites and other new media companies. It secured $100 million in financing last September, bringing its total investment to $320 million.
According to Weinroth, the acquisition by Demand is making it easier to collaborate with companies like iCrossing.
"Demand media has actually accelerated our ability to work with iCrossing, because we have more recourses to offer," Weinroth said. "They know how to build niche communities to drive marketing initiatives, and a huge amount of specialty content."