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Marchex Unveils Network
... of 100,000 local US sites

 12:14 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

MENLO PARK, California (Reuters) - Marchex Inc. said on Wednesday it is looking to make a splash in the local U.S. online advertising market by introducing 100,000 memorable Web sites featuring local services such as ... The Seattle-based company is looking to attract Web surfers to easy-to-remember Web domains it has acquired in recent years




 2:36 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

How does this company think they can get away with such a HUGE spam network? Unbelievable.

The thing is, they probably will... for a little while. Then the house of cards will tumble.


 2:46 pm on Jun 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

You presume that this company is concerned about search engine love.

It isn't.


 5:46 pm on Jun 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Marchex is looking to distinguish itself in scale and quality from the so-called "domain parking" industry that often prey on accidental visitors to their sites by serving up low-quality advertising links on random pages, sometimes laden with pop-up advertising or spyware. When frequently visited, such sites act as a kind of license to print money.

"The company gets lumped in with all these domain guys," Sterling said. "There is a certain amount of bait-and-switch going on there."

Hehe. Their adserver www domain is worth a visit when they talk about serving up low-quality advertising links and how different they are: [removed link]

[edited by: buckworks at 10:56 pm (utc) on June 29, 2007]
[edit reason] No URLs please. [/edit]


 1:39 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> You presume that this company is concerned about search engine love.

actually they are. I don't type 10020.com in the browser: they are hoping people search for dentist 10020 and that they rank higly on google. Now watch google flip out on 100K+ domains, presumably interlinked and using scrapped content (it's still taken from other sites even if its licensed)


 2:19 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

The local market is highly fragmented, they can't get traffic from domains only.


 3:52 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just typed in a ton of zip codes and sure enough they are all on top of Google. I'm sure Matt Cutts is calling his people right now or maybe already knows about this?

I also checked some details of what's on these zip directory sites on 5 cities around me in Southern California and they are so off.
Info must not of been updated in 10 years.


 4:13 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

And so if you are looking for a zip code, these aren't relevant?


 5:01 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Not relevant at all for the cities around me. But they did say they were updating... So who knows? But average home price in Laguna Beach is far, far above $250,000.


 6:45 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am with Webwork on this one.

I think we witness a birth of a serious player in local search and "yellow pages"-type listings. With 100,000 relevant domains I could care less what Google does, Google's traffic will be just icing.

Watch them recoup some of the original investments, then license quality content.


 7:39 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Problem #1, Since you are already advertising businesses for free many hesitate to sponsor the site further.

Problem #2, google has already done this. Go to google and type in your city name and the word doctor.com or city name and restaurant.com or hotel.com etc and you'll see that google has their sites and maps up top for every city. The best you can hope for in the serps is 4th or 5th behind google. Unfair? very.

Problem#3, 100,000 such sites in one go is bound to lead to lesser quality. Businesses come and go quickly, nobody can track that many listings without a rather large staff.

This WILL make them a handsome profit though. Its not Niche by any means and they will receive steady traffic. Look up the ratings for networking sites, myspace owns top spot but even the 10th spot reported a 500 million profit last year with 2.5% of the market share.

If it fails, they're sitting on a goldmine of high price domains.


 8:06 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

They will make money that's for sure...

I am so sick of directory types of sites that feed the surfer with outdated information and put their local directory full of obsolete, yesterday news. Come on guys, do not create anymore directories that can not keep up! Leave the Yellow and White Pages alone so they can keep up with local business. Put up more advertisements on a local result so they have to keep that page live even when the local company is no longer but the paid ad is still active.


 9:11 am on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does Marchex have connections with ATnT and the new iPhone by Apple?

It sure makes dollars and cents to me if that is the case. Mid summer changes at the Google plex ready to compete with the iphone... months previous Google comes out with iGoogle?

I'm very confused on what and who owns who in the phone biz?


 1:49 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

The internet is definitely suffering from a large-scale problem with obsolete information. If Marchex do make money from this, I don't think it will improve the situation.


 2:49 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Marchex, which now has to answer to shareholders and a “show me” stockmarket, now has a dilema. Direct navigation, as a traffic generator, has inherent limits or limiters. Only so many people will type-in Word.tld in a day. So how does Marchex grow its bottom line?

Marchex could keep buying quality domain portfolios but such collections are becoming rarer and more expensive. The time it takes to recoup the investment is likely growing. Portfolio holders are not only looking at traffic-revenue-multiple values but are looking at development and break-up values for their holdings. Other search and development entities are now entering the portfolio buying market, fostering liquidity and prices possibly more reflective of value. This suggests that a “growth by acquistion” model may be reaching its limits for Marchex’s model. So, in order to grow traffic, Marchex now “develops websites”.

What approach do they take to developing websites? Content or platform?

While many of you focus on their duplicate or thin content their model – like so many lately – is platform driven. Build the right platform and – hopefully in time – the content will be added. Welcome to the free content as business model era, where folks labor for free to enrich the platform provider. Nice model, one that will also soon be testing its limits.

Setting aside the platform as business model issues Marchex move – in targeting the local ad market – is wise. Who amongst us hasn’t read reports about the growth of the local advertising market. Smart move. And, if you were paying attention, I was spilling the beans on this model for some time, encouraging folks to venture into buying geo-targeted service domains. (Did you? ;0) )

Will Marchex’s local sites, discovered in the first instance by direct navigation, capture the minds of local advertisers? In a big numbers game – millions of people online and searching – Marchex need only capture a few minds to begin making each one of their domain minisites profitable. Multiply that profit by 100,000 sites.

I don't see search engine love in Marchex’s future. If I’m not mistake they even have someone who writes about opic of SEO. However, I’ll call that appearance over substance – looking like you know what you’re doing – whilst doing like you don’t know what you’re doing. In the era of authority and trust based upon quality content this 100,000 website launch wins the thin and duplicate content projectile vomiting competition of the decade award. But does Marchex really care about search engine love? I say no. I say Marchex’s value proposition is that it offers a viable and sustainable advertising model – for business’s that want to advertise – that removes search engine dependency from the equation.

Whatever Marchex does to free itself from its dependency on relationships with one or a few ad inventory providers – such as Google or Yahoo - is a good thing for Marchex. The message - diversify - has been delivered 100s of times across the forums of WebmasterWorld. Marchex must diversify it's revenue stream to be a viable player. Marchex needs to own the advertiser, for its own security and to establish its value if the founders are going to realize a return on their investment in their exit strategy. Type-in domain traffic monetization inside a advertiser feed-dependent relationship is a monoculture waiting for a disease.

Marchex is moving from a traffic aggregator and resale model to a platform driven media company model.

Just like Google and Yahoo.

[edited by: Webwork at 12:42 pm (utc) on July 1, 2007]


 2:53 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Watch nothing happen. Google has very different rules for big companies. They are allowed to do things we can't. I told googleguy about 2 different sites doing the same thing. One got banned the next day and the other is still doing fine because it is a big company.


 5:29 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems Marchex is using yahoo maps instead of goog maps all over their local sites. Good for them.


 7:39 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

Marchex search resuilts are much too poor in order to become competitive.

Just wonder, what kind od people put many and efforts into that. With a directory of 100.000 real quality sites you could certainly compete with most of Google's top 20.


 8:27 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

They should join forces with GeoSign for a special SEO version of Monty Python's Broadway play Spamalot


 8:33 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

FYI, I was just curious if they were already fingerprinted in my link crawler so I submitted sites mentioned in the article and sure enough they were kicked out as DOMAIN PARK pages.

If I have them fingerprinted, then the SEs probably do as well, so I don't expect to see them in the SERPs unless some SE really doesn't care about showing junk.


 8:50 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

incrediBILL - search for '90210' on Google. #2 is one of Marchex' site.

Again - this is about relevance. If I search for 90210, is 90210.com one of the most relevant sites? Yes. So what is with all this whining?


 9:16 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

So what is with all this whining?

I didn't whine, I stated a fact that their fingerprints were showing, but thanks for adding such meaningful insights to the conversation.

They could've accomplished the same thing with a single website as many others have done that show up quite nicely in the SERPs. Insteadm they spam the SE with a bunch of junk domains that can't easily be filtered out of your results like filtering out a single site such as Wikipedia.

Again, it's actually not about relevance as any single page could be ranked well and be relevant for that topic, it's about the intent to spam the SE's with a domain park fronting a backend database.

FWIW, your 90210 example isn't indexed in Yahoo or MSN, so many it's just Google that likes that junk.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 9:17 pm (utc) on June 30, 2007]


 10:30 pm on Jun 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

They're probably going to do "ok" out of this, especially if over time they start to parlay their network into deeper sites, perhaps by analysing where the traffic and ad $ are flowing most vigorously and focusing on building out the content on those sites first.

But they've missed (at least) two tricks as well:-

A) The URLs of on-site categories and individual businesses are hideously un-SEOed. They had a great opportunity to start from scratch on a simple, elegant keyword-friendly static-looking URL structure and they blinked.

B) There's currently no easy way for businesses to add/update information in their listings. That can be rectified in time, of course, but it's still an oversight since with enough aggregate traffic (across the 100,000 sites) incoming submissions from the businesses themselves could have helped dramatically to freshen and deepen the content being offered.

[edited by: Edwin at 10:30 pm (utc) on June 30, 2007]


 2:46 am on Jul 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

You presume that this company is concerned about search engine love.

It isn't.

I am with Webwork on this one.

I think we witness a birth of a serious player in local search and "yellow pages"-type listings. With 100,000 relevant domains I could care less what Google does, Google's traffic will be just icing.

I am not understanding these comments... How would a 100k site network get enough traffic without google? Not type-ins...?

Unless the implication is they also have enough money to advertise other ways and not worry about G...

Enlighten me? :D


 4:42 am on Jul 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

> QuantumEntanglement
They are interlinking everything in their network... including dupe sites for the same stuff.

What is your understanding of relevance?
If I want to find information about an area within a zip code zone then I want the current information... Don't you?


 9:11 am on Jul 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

the fact that they have good domain names that they kept for a very long time , even with that spammy content they will rank high due to google love of old domains ....
it's google blame and google needs to fix it, they just taking the opertunity to make money while google is avoiding fixing it


 9:17 am on Jul 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would be concerned about content accuracy and freshness (that applies to search engines in generally too). If there’s information about your company that is wrong, and it is being supplied to others as a source for content (I say this since my local phone carrier cannot seem to get my business under the right heading so EVERY online yellow pages has it wrong as they buy the list from them [Verizon has me under Burglar Alarms!?]), how is that going to affect your business. Magnify an error 1000 fold and who suffers.



 9:39 am on Jul 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

It is affecting me big time! That is why I can't let this thread alone. Our local phone companies can not even keep up with the internet...


 9:42 am on Jul 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Then a mass scrapper comes along to post more and more outdated news...


 6:32 pm on Jul 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

For a company worth $600 million, this is a bold move. I once tried this years ago with 75 domains, got 50 million page indexed and promptly penalized. Taking that same approach today, even with great domains, sounds silly.

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