U.S. directory and local search player The Berry Co. has scooped up defunct search marketing firm WebVisible’s Geneva platform from a liquidator in the wake of that company’s collapse.
“This acquisition will dramatically enhance our presence and capabilities in the digital local search space,” said John Fischer, interim president and CEO of TBC Holdings and Berry. “We plan to take the best of the Geneva technology and create a new platform and leads optimization engine that meets the ever-changing needs of advertisers across a range of digital products. We are delighted with the exceptional range of software development and product management talent represented by the employees of the new company.”
Berry has set up a separate business, based in Playa Vista, California, to operate the platform. One of the main reasons for the arm’s-length relationship is that the WebVisible business was based on reseller relationships, some of which Berry will maintain, while longer term Berry has ambitions to develop the technology further and possibly seek additional customers for the platform. This would be difficult if the operation were nested within the Berry organization. Essentially, Berry will become a customer of the new entity.
In addition to the technology, Berry has taken on 14 engineers and a few product specialists to help operate the platform.
Eric Owen, Berry’s VP of digital strategy and partnerships, told BIA/Kelsey that the WebVisible platform had several attributes that Berry found compelling, among them its dashboard capability, call tracking network and an order entry and ad insertion system with billing functionality. That latter is critical to helping Berry provision more digital products.
And moving more digital products through the pipeline is key to Berry’s longer term strategy, which involves provisioning multiple lead generating products and tracking the performance for the customer.