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TMCNet:  OrangeSoda: You have to ask them what they do: Internet searches ? The Utah company helps local businesses increase their online clout.

[December 20, 2008]

OrangeSoda: You have to ask them what they do: Internet searches ? The Utah company helps local businesses increase their online clout.

(Salt Lake Tribune, The Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 20--There is a display of various kinds of orange soda in the reception area and there's orange soda in the conference room, where there's also an orange bike. You'd think this was a soft drink company.


Instead, OrangeSoda is a small but rapidly growing company that specializes in helping local businesses market themselves online.

"We've had to move offices three times in our two years because of growth," said Jay Bean, CEO of the company whose current headquarters is in American Fork.

Through software that OrangeSoda calls its Campaign Management Center, the company works to ensure that local businesses show up near the top of Internet search results.

It does so by monitoring which keywords are sending the most traffic to a business's Web site. It constantly helps clients adjust their Web presence to make the most effective use of key words and also handles pay-per-click campaigns in which a business pays search engines like Google or Yahoo every time a searcher clicks on the "sponsored" links or results.

Billboards along Interstate 15 tout "orange" over "yellow" as OrangeSoda tries to make the case that it is the new Yellow Pages. Indeed, that's one of the old media it sees as being replaced by the Internet.

But ask Bean if OrangeSoda is an advertising agency, and he hesitates a bit.

"We're an ad platform service company but we're not a traditional ad agency," he said, and then later: "We're a marketing company,

kind of."

OrangeSoda is also not Omniture, a Utah company that is a leading source of software and services mostly for larger companies that want to measure their Web traffic and market themselves better on the Internet.

OrangeSoda aims to be the company that will help local businesses make the most of their Web sites. For a monthly fee, the company constantly monitors Web traffic, its software able to tell which key words are having the best results. It then is able to recommend changes that will raise the link to clients' Web sites higher in search results and tries to keep it near the top as search engines like Google change the order results are displayed based on search data, while companies try new keywords or combinations on their Web sites.

Type in "modest wedding dresses" into Google, and you'll likely see "www.beautifullymodest.com" near the top.

Beautifully Modest owner Dave Young won't reveal how much a month he's spending with OrangeSoda for competitive reasons. But he said it's worth the price for what it's done for online sales of his modest clothing for women.

"At the onset, we didn't use OrangeSoda; we built a site that was producing some revenue but it wasn't very well designed," said Young, who has two stores in Utah County and one in Las Vegas.

OrangeSoda redesigned the company's Web site (a service it no longer provides) and has been managing its online marketing ever since.

Young said online sales were up 22 percent in the first 11 months of this year compared with last.

"We show up early and sometimes first in the search results," he said.

OrangeSoda manages online marketing budgets that average $600 to $700 a month, Bean said. Though some budgets are a low $50 a month to begin with, OrangeSoda has found that $300 to $500 a month is the minimum to be effective.

OrangeSoda has about 210 employees, mostly in Orem but also some in its Las Vegas office. It also employs a number of part-time workers, mostly students from Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University that allow the company to offer personal customer service to its clients.

Bean had a previous company called Ah-ha.com that was sold to Seattle-based Marchex, itself a local search and advertising company. Bean founded the company in 2006 along with Chris Finken, its chief information officer, and Chief Operating Officer Derek Minor, using private funds, some local money from investors and a strategic partner whom Bean will not name.

Asked about origin of the name, Bean said he had registered the Web site years ago along with a bunch of others. So when the new company was casting around for a name, there it was.

"We wanted something that stood out, something we could really market ourselves behind," he said. "And something customers would have to ask us what we do."

tharvey@sltrib.com

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