$160 million for drunkdrivinglawyers.com

More and more details are emerging about the Geosign businesses that attracted the $160 million in VC (see previous post on thefart.com).

Apparently, earlier this year Geosign acquired a company called SWI Digital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but this time it doesn’t appear to have made any public announcements (correct me if I’m wrong.) The company’s execs seem to have learned that when you’re in the type of business they’re in it’s better to keep quiet about it.

So what exactly does SWI do? Well, it owns and operates 30,000 domain names — to add to the 90,000 Geosign owns through NYCGroup.com — and it’s got some of that magic less-expensive-to-produce Web 2.0 content.

SWI Digital owns 17,000 legal websites and holds the largest legal portfolio in the Nation! We are looking for ONE attorney or ONE firm to represent our websites in their county as an EXCLUSIVE LISTING partner for the year.

What this means to you is every time one of YOUR potential clients goes to one of our websites (CriminalDefenseLawyer.com, DrunkDrivingLawyer.com (SIC: THIS IS WRONG IT IS DrunkdrivinglawyerS.com), DivorceLawFirms.com, PersonalInjuryLawyer.com, and the other thousands of websites we own) they are prompted to enter their zip code. If they select the numerous zip codes in your selected county, we guarantee that they will find you, and only you and your firm, and NONE OF YOUR COMPETITION. Plus we guarantee front-page placement on GOOGLE for the entire year.

SWI Digital is NOT a referral service, and we DO NOT sell cases. Our competition is Lawyers.com and FindLaw.com with one unique exception. Instead of placing you on a multiple listing with 150-200 other lawyers, SWI Digital uses your firm and only your firm only, in your County!

The pricing on the EXLUSIVITY in your County for the year will be determined on the population of your County. Pricing may vary between $1000-$6500 for the YEAR! This program is right now the best method to attract and generate new clients to your firm. Counties are being sold right now, so please call with your practice and which County you would like to be exclusive in.

SWI Digital has around the clock SEO Engineers that keep these websites ranking number one in Google our of millions of other law firms, advertisers, and marketers that are looking to Optimize their own websites to be placed on the first page of Google. We include this Optimization Team as part of your annual fee.

 

It’s not hard to see why Geosign prefers to be known as a publisher of “high-quality” consumer websites. It’s a much more respectable business even if it pays way worse than speculation.

19 thoughts on “$160 million for drunkdrivinglawyers.com

  1. From the listing on craigslist:

    Plus we guarantee front-page placement on GOOGLE for the entire year.

    This should be most interesting for Google and namely Matt Cutt‘s Web Spam Team.

    Just my $0.02

  2. Here’s a freebie for you, Ann.

    Half of Geosign (the ‘marquee’ content half, not the SEM half) is re-branding itself to be called eMedia. emedia.com currently mirrors geosign.com, but a site:emedia.com query at Google shows that it was part of SWI’s portfolio.

  3. I can only guess that it’s an attempt to shield the most valuable content properties from the now-tarnished Geosign brand.

  4. THIS IS WRONG INFOMRATION. SWI DIGITAL, INC OWNS DRUNKDRIVINGLAWYERS.COM NOT DRUNKDRIVINGLAWYER.COM. FIX THIS ASAP!!

  5. They split the new company into two groups. One for marquee sites the other for Search marketing. SWI gave them more publishing technology than they every had. Geosign has X thousands of sites with only a small part live. SWI has 30,000 sites with over 25K live. They have an SEO machine that can pump out pages and get good rankings. They wanted to keep the SWI / Geosign relationship quiet so that they didn’t have any problems with Google. If Google thought they were doing arbitrage on the SWI sites (which they were not when I left) they would kill all the rankings and Geosign would be a world of hurt since all the sites are sold to customers based on that model.

    This is a cash source for them until the get the new sites, such as Hockey.com built.

  6. Anonymous, in capital letters, I have fixed the error and added an S.

    Anonymous, right above, what do you mean by “live” sites — sites with content as opposed to just ads?

    Now, I have to tell you that I’ve always thought that apart from the very basics, SEO is BS.

    Bottom line is you have to have readers and links to rank high in google unless you have a totally obscure keyword in which case no one’s looking for you anyway so your traffic is minimal.

    What exactly does a 24-hour, round-the-clock SEO team do?

    Am I missing something?

  7. The other anon poster probably refers to “live” sites as sites with at least some content, while the others might be just “parked” sites. Nonetheless, as you found out already, these parked sites have been heavily advertised on Google, only to direct the traffic from Google partner sites to a page with Yahoo! Publisher Network ads (to monetize the traffic).

  8. More questions for those of you in the know.

    I’m wondering if the $100 million figure for Geosign annual revenues (given out by Ted Hastings in various intvus) sounds right?

    Did all this revenue come from arbitrage or were there any other significant sources?

    Was the ultimate goal to be a “real publisher” and the arbitrage a way to get the cash to do it?

    Or was the “real publishing” just a front for a cash generating machine?

    Who was the mastermind of this scheme?

    And how did the company really start?

    How many people at the company really knew what was going on?

    What happened when the $160 million deal was announced? A party? Nothing?

    Did anyone suddenly show up in a Jaguar?

    Is STN Labs affiliated with Geosign or is it separate?

    And is there anything else I need to know?

    Thanks again to all you Deep Throats.

  9. I can only guess that it’s an attempt to shield the most valuable content properties from the now-tarnished Geosign brand.

  10. ex-insider,

    I don’t think those 200 consumer website properties were worth a thing.

    If they were valuable, management wouldn’t have canned the staff. They would have kept them around to generate cash from the sites

    As an outsider who knows something about media sites and what they make, I think those sites were losing money.

    Their readership was probably one-time visitors brought in by Adwords.

    They have none or just a few del.icio.us bookmarks. If you have lots of regular readers, you’ll have del.icio.us bookmarks.

    I never believed anyone was reading those sites. That’s what made me suspicious about Geosign in the first place.

    Bu please, keep those thoughts coming.

  11. Hmmm, cryptic, but I’m guessing that trees = Geosign and forest = Yahoo, Google.

    My theory (courtesy Silicon Valley friend) — Google let this scam/scheme go on because it’s not a well-run company. It just took them this long to get around to it.

    Yahoo’s still a mess but according to Sunday’s NYT, the new prez is not happy about the Geosigns they’ve been feeding.

    But so what if they get kicked off Yahoo next — isn’t the scheme already dead without the Google AdWords traffic?

    As we’ve already discussed, direct navigation was just a smokescreen to make those sites look like a legitimate search target (and maybe allow G and Y to appease irate advertisers.)

    Bottom line for me is that I need colour/narrative in order to get a story like this into a major forum. Otherwise, it will die on page nine of the biz section.

    So what forest are we talking about?

  12. >>How many people at the company really knew what was going on?

    I’d say 100+ people knew that arbitrage was a big portion of the company’s revenue. Most of them were cogs working one part of the machine. Less than 20 people actually knew the whole deal and how everything was done technically and strategically. A few of those people were among the layoffs.

  13. you asked Is STN Labs affiliated with Geosign or is it separate?

    it is separate, but there are connections between Geosign and STN

    STN is funded privately by Tim Nye, and no one knows what they do. STN is led by Jake Bailly who used to be the president of True Local. I think Jake was kicked out of True Local because he was caught doing arbitrage. but Tim felt bad so he made this company STN (which stands for “soup to nuts” and gave Jake a job.
    some other people from True Local also went to STN.

  14. “I think Jake was kicked out of True Local because he was caught doing arbitrage. but Tim felt bad so he made this company STN”

    Caught doing arbitrage? It was no secret TrueLocal was doing arbitrage.

    Tim Nye felt bad so he created a company? What business person creates a company because they feel bad? Namely, a VC company?

    You must be one of those people who were creating content for the “SEO” sites.

  15. There are too many anonymous commentators here. That is why I have now officially changed my handle from anonymous II to direct navigate to getaclue.com.

    Where to start? JB was not pushed out for arbitrage. He was pushed out for blabbing about arbitrage. Loose lips sink ships especially before a big deal.

    To make sure he STFU, Tim didn’t pull a Tony Soprano. No, he’s not that type of guy. Instead, he gave Jake a job at STN “Labs.” He didn’t create the company for Jake, just speeded up its creation a little bit. After all, Tim didn’t want an unhappy ex-employee with knowledge of the business and a tendency to shoot his mouth off messing up the big private equity deal Geosign had in the works.

  16. >STN is funded privately by Tim Nye, and no one knows what they do.

    Actually, what we do isn’t really secret and is pretty clear from our website.

    To answer your question Ann, STN Labs is separate from Geosign, both in ownership and management.

    I’m happy to answer any questions you have about STN Labs.

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