Commentary

Meet Search Marketing WebVisible's Ron Burr

Ron-Burr-B.

On Saturday I reported WebVisible co-founder Kirsten Mangers had stepped down, after a little birdie spilled the seeds. An announcement on Monday confirmed the news, along with the appointment of Burr to CEO. He joined WebVisible as chief operating officer in 2009. Since then the company's revenue doubled.

Burr plans to realign the company to focus on performance, scale and growth. No stranger to the Internet, Burr holds eight Internet technology patents in online advertising and market research. He founded NetZero and helped grow it to one of the world's largest Internet service providers.

Along with the C-change, the company laid off about 15%, or 40 employees. It now has 313 employees who support many U.S. and international reseller partners such as AT&T, The New York Times, British Telecom and Sensis.

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"Local is a big opportunity in search, and it's been tried and missed by every company from Google to Microsoft to Yahoo," Burr says. "It's a challenging market. We simplify the challenge by calling it 'local,' but in reality its hundreds, if not thousands, of individual market segments and businesses."

That's what makes the local advertising market complex. And that's why only about 4% of the $148 billion worldwide ad budget dollars get spent online. Under Burr, WebVisible will continue to support companies in the channel and direct sales force.

The small business ad buyer -- attorney, plumber, dentist or contractor doesn't have time to deal with the complexities with online advertising. They spend hard earned dollars and want to get their money worth.

Search engine queries in aggregate across Google, Bing and Yahoo continued to increase at a strong rate with 9% year-over-year growth. Non-search engine queries such as Facebook and craigslist rose 22%, off a smaller base, to capture more than one-third of total query volume, according to a study released Monday from 15miles, the local, mobile and social marketing arm of TMP Directional Marketing.

Companies can no longer afford to overlook a local strategy. This year's 15miles Fourth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study identifies the power of local, mobile and social search among consumers. The study confirms that 70% of survey respondents view search engines, online Yellow Pages or social networks as their primary sources of local business information. This is the market segment WebVisible serves.

On Saturday I caught up with Mangers while with her family vacationing in Big Bear. She felt comfortable with the change. "It's good for me; I feel great," she said. "I'm a very happy girl."

So what's Mangers next move? "I found a different calling," she says.

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