SpotRunner All but Out of Local

picture-92TechCrunch writes that SpotRunner laid off more people and has all but pulled out of local online marketing. Though the website doesn’t indicate it, that’s essentially been confirmed to me independently in emails. We’ll see what the company says. 

Instead it is pinning its hopes, reportedly, on becoming a more efficient TV ads and media-buying platform. Somewhat ironically this is one of the early things that SpotRunner was: an improved cable TV ad buying platform, though focused on SMBs. 

The company has raised a ton of money and at one point looked to be a juggernaut. But SpotRunner has made some strategic missteps (like waiting too long to get into online video and focusing too much on pre-produced creative [perhaps]). And perhaps the entire Weblistic acquisition was a distraction, although it seemed like a reasonable move at the time.

There were a couple of acquisition rumors at one point — though it’s hard to know how real those were. But in retrospect, if they were real, they probably look pretty good now. 

The people running SpotRunner are very smart. Certainly the economy is in terrible shape. But SpotRunner has struggled more that it probably should have. 

I’ll wait to hear from and speak with the company before I write any port-mortems however.

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Related: More information from ClickZ.

5 Responses to “SpotRunner All but Out of Local”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Mr. Sterling – Spotrunner is loosing money across all business lines and pulling back every expense it has in order to put 100% of it’s bank into it’s Malibu product.
    Local online was shelved last Fall and is gone. The entire TV agency business is going away – that includes all sales channels. Video is just a feature of the Malibu product going forward. They have gone from 400 people to what… 90? 100? That’s across the board.
    Great ideas but failure to launch. Being smart is great… but not enough. Maybe the Malibu thing will do it for them…

  2. MediaMavenz Says:

    Real agencies will have no interest in Spot Runner products. Malibu already seems like vaporware to those in-the-know, but even if it functions to some degree, a media buyer just wouldn’t risk letting an outsider handle their paperwork. Not when one screw-up can cost the entire account of a hard-earned client. That’s also why real agencies will never use Google for TV. It’s too risky, adds to expenses in an already low-profit industry, and Google most assuredly doesn’t know which end is up when it comes to TV. Personally I hoped Spot Runner would’ve worked, but their blogger-hyped system was slower, more expensive and far less efficient than a hands-on media buyer. I expect their software “solution” for agencies will be even less compelling than that.

  3. Investor Says:

    Greg: I just saw this on another blog and thought I would post it here. “Spot Runner was just caught changing their own entries on the Wikipedia! Wikipedia gave them an official warning.” According to another blog entry, Spot Runner is also attempting to erase or change bad press and headlines about them on business news sites and blogs. If this is true, Spot Runner is getting deperate. Do you know how many employees are left?

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    I believe there are estimates of current employees on TechCrunch and other sites. I do not know the numbers now, but it may be fewer than 100.

  5. Spot Runner Chooses Yodle to Service SMBs « Screenwerk Says:

    […] for Yodle and obviously the end of a disastrous chapter for Spot Runner, which bought Weblistic only to shutter it after many false starts, mishaps and miscues around strategic […]

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