Continuing its transformation beyond search marketing, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based iCrossing has purchased veteran site-creation house Proxicom. The deal will allow iCrossing to integrate Web site creation with search engine optimization from the get-go.
ICrossing founder and CEO Jeff Herzog said incorporating site creation with search know-how will yield sites that are “organically far more valuable than an old Web site that takes a million dollars in media trying to bring people to it.”
The Proxicom deal means iCrossing will rake in about $100 million yearly in net revenue and employ 550 people in 12 offices in the U.S. and the U.K. Founded in 1991, Proxicom creates sites for big-name brands including Toyota, Chevron, Dupont and Epson. Proxicom will retain its brand and be led by its current chief operating officer, Blue Van Dyke. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“We were looking for a company that had that type of scale and those types of experiences building great work” said Herzog.
“We believe there’s been a gaping hole in digital marketing and that we can fill that with a combination of iCrossing and Proxicom,” he said. “For years, we’ve watched pretty pictures become Web sites that anybody could build. But the hole has been that, if you really look at the consumer insights that are available, you can build a Web site that will market itself and not be reliant on media to attract the right person to the brand.”
The deal comes on the heels of iCrossing’s closure of a $62 million round of financing from Goldman Sachs, Oak Investment Partners, RRE Ventures and StarVest Partners. At the time, the company said it was going to use the money “to support acquisitions and an organic growth strategy.”
Already this year, iCrossing bought U.K. search and social media agency Spannerworks, marketing tech firm Sharp Analytics and paid-search agency NewGate Internet. Additionally, the company launched a mobile unit and snagged the Travelocity account.
Herzog said the information gleaned from search queries will allow the iCrossing/Proxicom teams to keep sites relevant throughout their lifespan. Also, he said a brand can use research analytics and targeting to create “different landing pages for many, many different people.”
If emphasis is kept on search, it can be addressed “throughout the creative process…making sure that, from a natural search perspective and media perspective, we are driving the most targeted people to the most targeted content in our Web sites and then looking at the results of those experiences and seeing if they had the intended effect,” he added.
Herzog was non-committal when asked whether iCrossing plans on going public. “I think that this company’s goal is to remain independent,” he said. “We think digital is still incredibly early in its development as an industry. We just want to make sure we have options to be able to stay on the cutting edge in this transformation and, for us, going public or staying private is not the focus. It’s about being on the frontline.”
As a result of the acquisition, iCrossing will add office locations in Los Angeles, Irvine, Reston and Detroit. The companies will combine offices in San Francisco, New York and Chicago.
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