Demand Media (© peshkova / Fotolia.com)
Demand Media (© peshkova / Fotolia.com)

Demand Media is a large media company that has recently made some big changes. In this article, we will be covering the history of Demand Media, the current state of affairs with the company and everything that you need to know about them. Understanding Demand Media is important in the marketing and advertising world, because they are one of the largest online media companies out there.

Who is Demand Media?

Demand Media is a large content company based in the United States. They have some of the largest websites out there that are producing content and selling advertising. Demand Media has recently been rebranded as Leaf Group. The number of brands that Demand Media operates is quite large and some of them are extremely well known on the internet. Just a few of the brands that make up Demand Media/Leaf Group include the popular tutorial site eHow, the health website Livestrong.com and Saatchi Art & Society. There are many more.

What Makes Demand Media Unique

One of the reasons that Leaf Group/Demand Media is so unique is that it provides social media platforms to large company websites and distributes content in concert with that social media infrastructure. They began in 2006, started by a private investor named Shawn Colo, as well as another key person in the company, Richard Rosenblatt, who had previously been the chairperson or MySpace, the social media and music sharing website.

The company uses an algorithm that determines topics that have a great deal of advertising potential. This is based upon information from the search engine data sources that they use, and they bid on advertising auctions to be prominently displayed for those keywords; from there, it is simply a matter of hiring freelancers to create content, whether that be written content or video. The company posts the content on one of the sites that they own or YouTube.

The Current State of Demand Media

At the time of this writing, Demand Media is trading at $8.20 (US) per share. Their reported quarterly earnings for the third part of the 2017 fiscal year were $33.5 million and they had an average of 50 million unique views over that quarter. As for growth, revenue from the main Leaf Group website Livestrong.com grew by 28%, while the revenue from the other Demand Media websites and properties grew by an aggregated 35%.

The History of Demand Media

Demand Media, now called the Leaf Group, was founded in 2006. The co-founders each had a great deal of experience working with internet media companies and social media websites. Shawn Colo’s specialty was financial acquisitions while Richard Rosenblatt had previously built and sold media companies and served as CEO of Intermix Media and chairman of MySpace. The first two years in business, Demand Media raised more than $355 million from investors.

Demand Media Portfolio & Acquisitions

Here is a short list of some of the websites that are either currently part of the Demand Media/Leaf Group portfolio, or that have been in the past. This is not a complete history, but simply some of the largest and most well-known sites.

  • Society6.com: This website was acquired in June of 2013 and it provided artists with a platform in which to sell their artwork on products like prints, mugs, cups, clocks, blankets and t-shirts.
  • SaatchiArt.com: This online art gallery was acquired in August of 2014. It featured original paintings, drawing, photography and sculptures. The goal was to create a curated environment that connected artists with the people who would be viewing their artwork.
  • Deny Designs: The Leaf Group acquired Deny Designs in 2017; this website featured modern home furnishings that were based upon original designs.
  • ExpertVillage: Demand Media acquired the how-to-do-anything website “Expert Village,” built by Byron Reese, for $20 million. Shortly afterward, Reese was hired as Chief Innovation Officer of Demand.
  • Pluck: This social networking and comment tool was acquired by the company in 2008. Demand Media paid $75 million in cash for this company.
  • indieClick: Acquired in 2011.
  • RSS Graffiti: Acquired in 2011.
  • Name.com: Demand Media acquired Name.com, a popular registrar site, in 2013.

Cracked.com: This popular humor content site was sold to E.W. Scripps in 2016. Demand Media also sold Trails.com to LovetoKnow Corporation and Airliners.net was sold in 2017. In addition, Demand Media got rid of their registrar sites. They separated from Rightside Group Limited, which took Name.com and other registrar sites with them.

OpenPR-Tip: Yahoo! was interested in buying Demand Media at one time. Sources close to the deal said that Yahoo! had offered somewhere between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, but CEO Richard Rosenblatt wanted at least $3 billion for the company.

The Demand Media Business Model

Demand Media has certainly garnered a lot of praise for the way that they have set up their content websites, but they have also gotten a lot of criticism for the way that they hire freelancers at low rates to create content; the business model for this company centers around that content and especially centers around showing up in the search engine results multiple times for long-tail keywords. Demand Media specifically targets these long-tail keywords, doing research to figure out which ones they can rank for according to the authority of a specific site, and determine which of those keywords will bring in the most traffic. They commission freelancers to create web content around those keywords, adhering to high standards in order to meet search engine content expectations and remain ranked high for their keywords and maintain their site authority.

Conclusion

Demand Media is a good example of a company that has done really well with online advertising, and particularly with building websites so that they get a huge amount of traffic. Other companies could definitely follow their example and use their business model to get their own sites ranked high in the search engines, indexed for multiple keyword terms and overall, perform well in the online world of marketing and advertising. Demand Media, now Leaf Group, has done a really great job at content marketing.



         



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