SearchRev enters growing European search market with new London office

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Search engine marketing services provider SearchRev has opened a London office in a move to expand into Britain and across Europe.

SearchRev says it has experienced growth in the U.S. in the last 18 months. In August of last year, the company's executive team started looking at opportunities to expand outside the U.S. and its headquarters in Palo Alto, CA.

"After an initial market survey, it was decided that Britain would make the ideal launchpad in Europe, especially as the total paid search spend in Britain alone was predicted to break the $2.2 billion mark for 2006 - a year-on-year growth of 65 percent," said Mark Hindmarsh, one of the two managing directors of SearchRev Europe.

SearchRev had conducted research on the state of the European SEM market in an effort to compare it with the market in the U.S. And it liked the growth trajectory.

The company hired Peter Jones and Mr. Hindmarsh to assess the landscape, build a business plan and develop a European go-to market strategy.

The model that the two men developed is slightly different from the one used in the U.S.

"Our core focus and positioning here in Europe is to focus on being an SEM-technology provider, working with media agencies, in-house PPC teams and specialist SEM agencies," Mr. Hindmarsh said. "We believe our business will be 70 percent SEM tool-licensing and 30 percent full service - a flip of the U.S. operation."

Mr. Jones and Mr. Hindmarsh spoke with major brand owners, large media agencies and SEM specialists. They all said the same things: Advertisers are becoming more savvy about paid search; spend is up, while performance is beginning to plateau and additional pressure is coming from ever increasing keyword prices; and many large brand advertisers are looking increasingly at bringing the activity in-house.

"We feel that SearchRev with Precision View and Precision ROI, its tracking and reporting module, is well positioned to solve many of the problems and frustrations the market has right now," Mr. Hindmarsh said.

In December, SearchRev hired Kate Burns, former head of Google Europe, as its European board advisor.

Ms. Burns was Google's first international employee who in five years built the British operation up from no revenue to about $2 billion. She also grew the team from one person to over 200. Ms. Burns was at Alta Vista before joining Google.

"Peter, Kate and myself will build, grow and manage the new SearchRev Europe business and plan to have a support team of eight to 10 people in the first year," Mr. Hindmarsh said.

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