Media

OwnLocal acquires Whoosh Traffic to save dying local newspaper businesses

Ownlocal
Image Credit: OwnLocal

Austin-based OwnLocal thinks it can save local newspapers from extinction.

The company promises to help newspapers make money from the web without dumping a ton of resources into an online publication. It offers newspapers a way to transition their print advertising into digital ads (basically, OwnLocal builds those digital ads) that can then be searched and shared via social networks.

Today the company revealed that it’s acquiring Whoosh Traffic for an undisclosed amount to further enhance the reports and advertising analytics offered to newspaper publishers. Whoosh’s technology formulates the estimated changes in SEO ranking, which OwnLocal uses in its reports.

The Whoosh brand will be discontinued, but OwnLocal plans to continue serving Whoosh’s clients, which includes large U.S. news publisher Gannett, OwnLocal CEO and founder Lloyd Armbrust told VentureBeat.

“We want to continue serving Whoosh’s clients for as long as it makes sense, but ultimately we’re still focused on helping local publications build their businesses through digital ads,” Ambrust said. “OwnLocal is in a unique position to put this technology into the hands of small businesses through our media partners. If Whoosh made any mistakes, it was making their product too technical for the average small business.”

One of OwnLocal’s strongest assets is its vast relationship with the legacy newspaper business. The company currently serves over 700 local print publications across the country, including those from Media News Group, 21st Century Media, Freedom Communications, Shaw Media, and Pioneer News Group. But since most of these clients come from a non-digital background, the reporting/analytics aspect of OwnLocal’s ad platform must appeal to those clients. Whoosh should help the company do that.

Founded in 2010, the Austin, Texas-based startup is profitable and has raised a total of $2.5 million to date from some very notable investors, including Automattic, Y Combinator, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, Delicious creator Joshua Schachter, and others.

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