Breaking: SpotRunner Lays off 54-100, Company’s Future Uncertain due to Google Competition

By Matt Van Hoven 

Disheartening news from our Sportunner spies today. Apparently at least 54 people were laid off, although we’ve heard numbers as high as 100 from two sources. Comments on the last SR story we ran indicate both numbers are correct.

The once bright and ballsy start-up seems to be plagued by both competition from Google (which touts a similarly effective media buying system &#151 but one that is more feasible for the giant), as well as ruminating remarks about greed from above:


“Its not about financial trouble that you guys are suspecting. Its the greed that the owners of this company are getting into that will ruin this ‘once upon a time nice startup’,” said SoCaly.

Whatever the situation, we hear an estimated 30 percent of salaries were cut between creative (6 people), sales (apparently there were way too many sales folks to begin with) and others.

“Spot Runner will fail. I guarantee it. They have no idea what they’re doing from one day to the next. They’re trying to ‘reinvent’ advertising but it really doesn’t need reinventing. Spot Runner makes all of its money off of media sales. They have a hyper-focused way of purchasing media, which is great, but it’s very expensive. Google is starting to do what they do and all of the SR folks are scrambling to compete… or pray that Google buys them,” said one of our spies.

A call to Spotrunner representatives was not immediately returned.

Check out the spirited conversation that’s going on between a few insiders (from the previous SR story), one of whom is Groupfly creator Max Metral. Find that after the jump, or here.

Update: We just spoke with an SR rep who verified that 50 people have been laid off as part of a reorganization plan that we mentioned in the previous SR article, “On the subject of the hiring-holding-pattern, AgencySpy has learned that the company is undergoing a reorganization of sorts; the company will be split into three divisions, each led by one person. Mark Rosenthal takes the reigns of media platforms, Joanne Bradford will oversee national marketing services and Kurt Weinsheimer will manage local marketing services.”

We’re also told that there are 60 positions available within the company, which SR’s team has been working to fill since before the layoffs. However, SR’s careers page only lists 22 open spots. Just sayin’, reorganization or not, this does not bode well for the agency.

kewllover: Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.

Yeah you guys know how the watercooler can get. Do you think your article has anything to do with the 100 people at is laying off tomorrow 8/11/2008?

I saw it coming 2 years ago, their application is poorly written, originally sourced from Max Metral on his piece of garbage Groupfly platform. This thing runs so badly that it barely supports 30 concurrent users. The database is a joke, the company put simply, is a pump and dump. Nick Grouf is attempting to make some huge company by hiring big names in the .COM arena. To put it bluntly the product is weak at best, this is exactly why Microsoft walked away after briefly looking at the business model.

For your edification, Spotrunner almost has more Director and above executives than they have employees. This is a clear indicator of a investor milking technique by throwing around well known names in the industry as has been done above.

If you want more more details please feel free to contact me and I will be more than happy to give you my opinion on how this company has no future and abuses its employees.

djMax: Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
sure, give us more details.

First, you’re likely a very old employee with an axe to grind, and I have a suspicion which one. I’m guessing the guy that didn’t understand what a database join was, or thought database normalization was when you make sure the diagram looked nice.

Second, I very much doubt that some very early help I gave to a friend (this is Max) plays any role in their technology platform 3 years later.

Third, that “piece of garbage” platform ran And while we didn’t win, it certainly wasn’t because of the software and it certainly supported more than 30 concurrent users. Try 30,000 at the very least, and probably about 300,000 the minute he said “go to” at the convention. Assuming you’re an engineer, you build a cost effective system for peaks like that. I dare you.

So yes, I want more details because I don’t think they’d be very favorable to you. I know nothing of the current situation, but the people I do know at SpotRunner are very bright and I wish them nothing but the best. I haven’t seen anything from them that would warrant the kind of celebration of this report of layoffs that is going on here and on ValleyWag comments. When the hell did the technology sector start rooting for itself to implode? Oh yeah, when F* launched.

SoCaly: Do you already have an account? Log in and claim this comment.
Its not about financial trouble that you guys are suspecting. Its the greed that the owners of this company are getting into that will ruin this ‘once upon a time nice startup’.

Today was just the Day 1. 54 employees got the pink slip. Who knows how many more will be getting theirs in the near future.

Totally agree that there are more Managers and ‘above’ people than regular worker bees.

And the whole investment thing is only for expanding the business model (i.e. customer support) in overseas location. Absolutely nothing to do with technology.