SEO Technology company Conductor announced today that they have successfully bought out the company from WeWork.
The deal involved 250 employee and management co-founders plus outside investment. The co-founders will continue as majority shareholders with a new class of stock (founder-preferred shares).
Conductor CEO Seth Besmertnik in a statement said:
“We’re grateful for our time with WeWork, during which we’ve been able to invest aggressively in R&D, doubling the size of our team with world-class talent that helps our customers achieve success everyday.
People don’t want to be advertised to or sold to anymore. Our solutions make it easier for brands to deliver marketing that is helpful and valuable. It’s marketing that consumers actually seek out.”
Background History of Conductor
Conductor’s roots in SEO began as a company offering search marketing technology solutions as well as brokering advertising that Conductor said had an effect on organic rankings. According to a web page from 2009 (archived in Archive.org) that was titled Focused Link Building:
“An ad displayed throughout our publisher network works behind the scenes to positively impact the advertiser’s rankings in search engines like Google and Yahoo.”
It was generally understood in the SEO community that selling links violated Google’s guidelines. Thus, I remember being startled in 2009 by the business model of openly brokering links for the purposes of having a “positive impact” on search engine rankings.
Two years later in 2011 Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Web Spam wrote:
“People on this thread have already mentioned Conductor, and I’ve confirmed multiple times that paid links that pass PageRank via Conductor violate our guidelines.
…I also commented on Twitter just a few months ago at https://twitter.com/mattcutts/status/22019997220 when I said “Because someone asked me about it: Conductor paid link network does violate Google’s quality guidelines, and we do take action in response.”
Conductor Became an SEO Technology Company
Conductor pivoted to focus on SEO technology, where they found great success. But then Conductor was subsequently acquired by WeWork and was caught up in the WeWork drama. But as of this week they have successfully extracted themselves from it.
Conductor Reborn as an Independent Company (Again)
Conductor counts many enterprise level companies such as as Citibank, Salesforce.com, Visa, and Casper as clients. They appear to have a bright future ahead of them.
According to Conductor:
“Conductor’s SEO and content marketing technology is leveraged by thousands of marketers at companies like Visa, Casper and Slack. Its software and services give brands the ability to organically reach consumers who are searching over 20 billion times a day on platforms like Google, YouTube and Amazon Alexa. Conductor enables enterprises to know what consumers are searching for so they can lower acquisition costs and build brand loyalty by providing content in these moments.”
It’s great to see Conductor detaching itself from the WeWork drama and finding a way to move forward.