Spot Runner Buys Search Firm Weblistic

NEW YORK Spot Runner is buying local search firm Weblistic in an effort to bridge traditional and online media for local businesses.

Spot Runner gains a company that runs local search campaigns, handling the creation and placement of listings on Google and other search engines. It also creates videos and seeds clips to YouTube and other sites. (Weblistic creates text listings for clients, along with videos, since search-results pages now include various types of media.) For companies without Web sites, Weblistic builds landing pages.

In broader terms, the acquisition bolsters Spot Runner’s current local TV services with online media — specifically search marketing. The hope is to create programs for advertisers that use multiple forms of media to lure customers, said Nick Grouf, CEO of Spot Runner.

Weblistic CEO Ketan Shah will lead Spot Runner’s online marketing services unit. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“One of the things central to Spot Runner is the belief that advertisers don’t buy TV, online advertising or radio. They care about growing their businesses by acquiring customers,” Grouf said. “They often do that by advertising. That advertising needs to be optimized across media.”

The deal “creates an opportunity for us to incorporate what they do into Spot Runner and correlate TV and online advertising,” he said.

Spot Runner plans to marry these services with its ad platform for local businesses to create and plan TV ad buys. It has already expanded into radio sales and offers some search-marketing services. The company plans to begin running online video ad campaigns as well.
After initially focusing on local businesses through a self-service model, Spot Runner struck deals with national businesses that sell in local markets, such as real-estate company Realogy and Diamond Promotion Service. In addition to its library of thousands of pre-made commercials, Spot Runner acquired a production network, Globeshooter, in January.
“It’ll be interesting to see if they can sell them on the whole gravy train, from A to Z,” said Peter Krasilovsky, an analyst at The Kelsey Group.
WPP Group and Interpublic Group are among the investors in Spot Runner, which has received over $60 million in venture capital backing to build its local advertising platform.