RootOrange Debuts Domain-Splitting Location-Based Technology At SXSW

Frank Langston and Camilo Acosta

RootOrange co-presidents Frank Langston and Camilo Acosta have developed a business model and a technology that lets small business owners across the country use the same domain name and URL based on location.

The technology relies on the IP address of the browser that the consumer uses to search for the company name in their area on Google, Bing, Yahoo or other engines. Based on the Web browser's IP address and other technology, RootOrange serves up the Web page of the local business leasing the name.

The technology points RootOrange's servers to the correct local business that leased the domain and serves up the Web page in an i-frame.

Camilo points to an "oversight in the structure" of the Internet that makes the technology and service possible. "It's a development in the Internet that got skipped, never happened," he says. "We saw the gap and now we're making it happen."

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RootOrange officially launches this week at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, with the URL Attorney.com, but owns about 3,000 domain names. If the requested domain isn't in the company's inventory it will partner with the person or the company that owns it.

The top legal keyword, Attorney, generates more than 1.8 million monthly searches in the United States alone, Acosta says. Law firms and individual attorneys, in any metropolitan area, can now grab their share of exclusive local traffic.

For small businesses that don't want to spend the money or can't afford to pay thousands of dollars to buy a generic Web name, this lets the company lease the name along with dozens of other businesses across the country by going to RootOrange's Web site, finding the name and signing up.

"There have been studies that show online consumers tend to click on ads that contain generic domain names up to 60% more than ads that don't use generic domain names," Acosta says.

Businesses can also use the generic domain name in display or paid-click ads. When running an AdWords paid-search ad, for example, marketers simply target a specific area, such as Baltimore. Anytime someone clicks on that ad using a generic domain name, RootOrange will know to route the person who clicked on the ad to the correct local site.

Camilo views the service as an alternative to going without or choosing a name that is less than optimal for the business. Many of the best generic domain names were acquired during the early days of the Internet by legitimate businesses or domain squatters. Now, small businesses that missed the bandwagon can't afford to pay the thousands of dollars sometimes required to develop a successful branding and marketing strategy.

As for Camilo and Langston, a $35,000 prize from entering a tech competition at Princeton University where the two graduated, along with a seed round of financing, got the business rolling. Both also come from entrepreneurial families.

Now the two are off to the SXSW conference in Texas this week to compete in a Microsoft competition. Their Web technology has been chosen as a finalist in the 2010 Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator contest.

2 comments about "RootOrange Debuts Domain-Splitting Location-Based Technology At SXSW".
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  1. Michael Wade from PointRoll, March 15, 2010 at 10:46 a.m.

    No comment on the fact that IP lookup isn't always accurate?

  2. Barry Letzer from Ether Properties, March 15, 2010 at 2:46 p.m.

    Laurie, I like your perspective alot and usually think of you as a salient writer. This was an excellent and timely piece of information to offer your readers given the nature of the economy and how difficult it is getting started for new enterprizes and how these types of mechanisms make it easier and less expensive. But I'm a bit confused by your characterizations of these 2 young men. It appears from you article, that you are attempting to give them kudos for being so innovative and championing a new idea into formation for the benefits it can offer to other users. But then you seem to indicate that their opportunity exists in the marketplace because of how "Many of the best generic domain names were acquired during the early days of the Internet by legitimate businesses or domain squatters.".....I'm sorry, does that mean to say that you are therefore accussing these 2 young men of being "Domain Squatters" because of their ownerhip of 3,000 Generic Domain Names for their enterprize....

    It would appear as if you mean this to be a rather derogatory "label" that you apply to them as well, as they are able to be in this position because of their holdings of 3,000 Generic Domain Names......

    Do you or this organization you write for have an insight you'd like to pro-offer about the rightousness of such blatant accusations ? This kind of selective speak is what harms many people and organizations. For someone who is attempting to convey a sense of what is going on at the leading edge of technology development, you'd do yourself and this publication, let alone the gullible edifying public, a big service by NOT demeaning and even Libeling your very worthy subjects in pieces meant to showcase their advanements in this field.

    Shame on you for being so simple-minded and short-sighted, the words you choose to showcase your language skills should do a much more thorough and definitive job of conveying your true meaning !
    Would you use the same type of term to describe the person or people who "Speculated" on purchasing the land underneath all of the buildings upon which the SXSW sits.....???

    Just per chance, do you live in a home or dwelling that has always been present where it is, or is it upon land someone sometime ago must have "projected" might some day worth building upon ???

    Or, do tell, how is it you really see this issue ?

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