WebVisible CEO Ron Burr: Focus Is on Sustainability and Growth
SMB reseller WebVisible went through difficult changes last year, downsizing from 320 to 130 employees and retreating from an ambitious direct marketing program. But it has kept core partners intact; key members of the CEO’s installed executive team have stayed intact; and the company has aggressively ramped up its technology program. It is now poised for sustainability and growth, according to CEO Ron Burr, who took over from co-founder Kirsten Mangers last September.
“We made some expensive mistakes on the direct business,” says Burr, former head of NetZero, who joined WebVisible last year. “We took our eye off the ball on our partner business. But now we are refocusing on our channel partners.” In addition to keeping key accounts such as McClatchy and BT, WebVisible recently won the account for Recruit, a $10 billion Japanese company with 12 media properties.
Burr notes that all through the strife, the company has maintained revenues of roughly $25 million. Roughly 70 percent of revenues were U.S. based, and 30 percent were international. This year, the ratio should be 60 percent U.S., and 40 percent international. There should also be 10 percent revenue growth in 2011.
The growth is partially attributable to the rollout of a more efficient, cloud-based tech platform, and new technology that allows the company to “understand the effectiveness of particular keyword structures in a campaign, and how they concert to action by consumers, whether phone calls or clicks. The tech results in a 30 percent increase in effectiveness,” says Burr. WebVisible is also focused on providing customers a centralized database for local advertising, whether it is tracking Groupon, clicks or e-mail marketing. “It all needs to co-exist,” says Burr.
“The interesting thing about the pure plays in this space … ReachLocal, Yodle and WebVisible … is that nobody’s made it to profitability,” adds Burr. “That’s the tack we are taking now. Run this company profitably with a viable business strategy.”
This Post Has 8 Comments
I am an ex employee of this company Webvisible. The problem is the INTEGRITY behind the scene with CEO politics. At one point a statement was made that the health of our company determines how much margin we take from the SMB’s budgets. Example. CLient has a 1000.00 budget and really only receives $300 – $350 on clicks and the company pockets the rest. I personally sold over 90 accounts and only had about 4 that received a Return on Investment. Business owners should look at running their adwords campaigns on there own or work with a publicly traded company in the industry. Do your research and make sure more than half of what you pay goes to your ad clicks or you wont have enough clicks to play the #’s game. Business owners, your business is your baby, your dream realized…dont entrust a company with your marketing with out truly doiong deep research and talk with at least 4-5 companies.
It’s called profit and margin. You think when you buy your toilet paper that all .99 cents goes to the production of the paper? NO charmin has to make something to stay business. Smart, real smart, buddy. Get real. New flash : apple is ripping people because they are making money off of thei ipad2.
THE GOOD NEWS IS, WV GOT RID OF ALL THE SALESPEOPLE THAT WERE JUST COLLECTING SALARY CHECKS AND DIDN’T WANT TO COME IN AND WORK. INSTEAD THEY MADE EXCUSES AND BLAMED OTHER PEOPLE INSTEAD OF LOOKING AT THE MAN IN THE MIRROR…. GOOD SALESPEOPLE DON’T GET FIRED….
IM GLAD TO SEE THAT WEBV IS DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND LOOKING FORWARD TO A STRONG AND FINANCIALLY HEALTHY FUTURE.
To Bro Mantic:
The truth is, WebVisible has attained some of the best partnerships in the business, and has proven to generate 1000’s of leads within hours for over 3000 verticals around the world. The problem was not the platform; rather, the sales persons establishing unrealistic expectations. Like Master said, “The good news is, they’re all gone.” the stars that are left, have taken this company into profitability with a matter of weeks. Dead weight equals no return. WV is behind Mr. Burr and all his decisions, for we know as the leader in this industry, our future, and the future of SMB’s across the world, are in great hands.
I am still working with the company and I support the restructure. The fact of the matter is that the old webvisible was NOT PROFITABLE and was nothing more than a party on VC money. Ron is getting rid of the fat and turning this company into a lean technology machine that can adapt and deliver services with out having to add bloated overhead into the cost to the customer.
If you feelings are hurt because you lost your job, that is totally understandable, it’s not fun for anyone. But you really have to look hard at the quality of work you do and ask yourself, “If I was pulling my weight, would they really have let me go?” Use this opportunity to reflect and dominate at your next position.
I pulled my weight.. went “green” more often than not and still got canned bc they wanted to shutdown the clt office.
Im over the company was a joke to work for they prolly did me a favor. What kind of CEO laughs when at the people he let’s go. They let go 45 people by shutting down the Clt office and…. all RON BURR could do was laugh hurting peoples lives..? That’s a pretyy small prick in my book
Whether or not twinkle toes Ron Burr has the company going in the right direction is unbeknown to me…BUT the culture of the organization lacks tremendously.
I tried to post this comment on the LocalOnliner page, but it never posted? Hmmm. This article by what is supposed to be a respected voice in the local online industry is an interesting piece of PR. This is not reporting and it is obvious no due diligence was done. Since 2006 there has been a complete shift of executives with the exception of one, Paul Basile. Everyone from the CEO (Kirsten) her two (not one) founding partners, Dennis Evans and Terry DiNatale, her first, second and third CTO’s (Kelly Stephen, James Williams and Erick Herring), her CFO (Jason Gardner), her VP’s of Sales and Business Development/CRO (Bill Lupo, Carey Ransom, Jon Rosen) and her favorite VP of HR, Veena Chillar, have been bounced out of WebVisible. Add to the list Jon Rosen’s team who came on last year and have also been bounced and you are given a picture of instability, bad business decisions and very frankly, personnel issues that stem from the top, not the bottom. All those direct sales reps who have been the scapegoats were following the lead from the top. Doug LaBahn (an erudite Phd with no experience in Sales) was the most recent person to require a team of hungry young sales reps to ‘lie to customers to make their numbers’. The Direct model was embraced by Ron Burr and his team (most who have zero experience in the search space) and the direct model seems to be working for an awful lot of other companies that have both direct and channel divisions. Partners were and are serviced by a dwindling team of dedicated staff. Did anyone think to ask how many people were left in partner? The number is 6 and three of those people work in an operations support capacity. Anyone, including the so called author of this post can argue that the model WebVisible uses is out of date and the service they provide is limited and Google is not supportive of their methods, but the complete glossing over of the failure of this current executive team is almost criminal. In addition, please report where those 130 jobs remain. They are in the office in India for cheap labor and the recently opened office in Los Angeles that is in close proximity to the current eTeam’s homes and families. The remaining Irvine staff were give the choice of a crappy So Cal commute or no job. The sad thing is that WebVisible was a good company with a good work life balance and now it is a company on life support. One only needs to look at the success of exVisiblers who have gone on to own their own companies, or successfully grow another to see that is wasn’t a personnel issue at the bottom, but the top. Only employees who have zero experience in the local search space would defend the technology, management and customer experience. Partners should be aware of the fact that looking underneath the kimono would reveal a platform designed for one thing…arbitraging clicks, a management team with a distinct lack of reality and a former CEO who probably doesn’t sleep at night.
Hello, Charles Laughlin here, managing editor of BIA/Kelsey. Thanks to all for the comments. We like a lot of debtate and dialogue on our blog. We are not big fans of using comments as a forum for personal attacks, however, and there is some of that in this thread. We have decided to close this post to further comment. If you have any questions, you may contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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