Most TechCrunch readers have never heard of Tracking202. But affiliate advertisers love the service, which manages advertising campaigns on Facebook, MySpace and other platforms. In fact, Tracking202 was at the center of the Facebook click-fraud issue that we reported on earlier this year. Tracking202 users saw a certain number of clicks on ads via the Tracking202 interface, and far more on their Facebook admin pages.
The company is self funded and has a number of customers who pay for the premium hosted version of the service. Today they’ve announced they’re selling the business to Bloosky, an affiliate ad network. Here’s the email sent out to users this morning:
Date: Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 3:54 PM
Subject: Tracking202 Has Been Acquired!
We have some BIG news to announce today. As of a little over a week ago, Tracking202 has been acquired by Bloosky, another company within our space. We wanted to give you details about everything that has been going on that has lead up to this point as we’ve always been 100% transparent with our users and would want to remain so. We felt this acquisition was beneficial for everyone and there are a lot of things we wanted to disclose in this blog post to clarify why this deal makes a lot of sense for all of our users.
Tracking202 was founded a little over 2 years ago and have grown tremendously in the short time span we’ve been around. Many may not realize this but we’re still very much a bootstrapped startup operating out of our house! Literally we have desks in the living room, bedrooms, kitchen, etc… Its not what you would have probably have imagined for the growth we’ve seen and support shown from all of our users around the world. We appreciate everything and all the love you’ve given us. But as you may have realized, we were perhaps growing too fast.
As some of you may have noticed in recent months, its been getting harder and harder to answer support around the clock the way we use to in the early days. The number of users grow larger every day and unfortunately we didn’t have enough resources, staff, or funding to keep on doing support and everything else without infringing on time spent innovating on the technology everyone has grown to love. Above all else, we only have two full time programmers on board, one of them being Wes himself who’s pretty much coded 98% of everything we have today!
Having said that, we were limited on growth in several areas and with the launch of our new network, had a hard time keeping up with the sheer volume of affiliates that were getting on board with our software and network. Lately, its felt like we were in a catch-22 situation, working hard just to maintain things, even when we gave our best efforts its been difficult to continue to grow the company and help the community the way we have wanted to.
Several months back, we had the privledge of meeting with the founders of Bloosky. At the time, we were thinking of strategic ways the two companies could work together to help each other out. Wes and I were also debating about bringing outside funding to continue growing the company. Although we were affiliates early on and for the most part, have self funded Tracking202 with all the campaigns we’ve built in our early days, it got to a point very early on where we no longer had time to run any campaigns and went full steam into Tracking202. With that, the company grew based on what it was able to bring in itself for revenue in terms of software subscriptions, advertising, and of course now network revenues. However its difficult to scale when you have limited resources, time, staff, and funding to continue to grow.
After debating long and hard about bringing on venture capital (VC) to grow the company who probably wouldn’t understand our business, we decided we didn’t like that option. We felt it was in Tracking202’s best interest as well as the interest of our users and the community we created to keep VCs out of this. What started as just a discussion on a simple business partnership ended up becoming talks of a potential buyout. This made a lot of sense to us because Bloosky was already involved in the space and more than just funding, they had extensive knowledge and ideals that complemented Tracking202 VERY WELL. After long talks, the deal made a lot of sense.
Before I dive into why I think this partnership is great, I wanted to give you guys a background on what Bloosky does for those unfamiliar with the name. Many companies in the space know who they are but they don’t have such a strong presence among the affiliate community. The reason for this is because most affiliates don’t deal with Bloosky directly or run Bloosky’s offers. Over the last couple years they have focused on working with other types of publishers, emailers. The other thing they are known for is their advertising relationships and focus on providing advertiser services. They have call centers, creative services and a strong ad sales team. They pull in an average of 60-100 new offers per week!
Tracking202 on the other hand as many of you know, is a publisher focused company with a strong affiliate base and technology that control several traffic sources such as search, social, contextual, media buys, etc… basically other than email. Like two halves of the same coin, the combination of the two companies made perfect sense. So what does this mean to our users?
Wes and I are staying on board to continue our vision of what we believe Tracking202 should have been since day 1. This deal gives us an equity stake in Bloosky and allows us to gain valuable resources necessary to continue doing what we do best. Above all else, Bloosky shares the same passion, values, and vision we have, which is one of the key reasons we were excited to do this. We would never compromise our values or visions for anyone, hence why we didn’t want to go the VC route when we could of. With this deal moving forward, this allows us to put more emphasis on support where it is needed. We now have more resources and funding to accelerate on the growth of the technology side building faster and bringing more tools, and to help the community as a whole to help our affiliates better. We saw several positives in this and Bloosky have been very supportive of everything we’ve done and wants to see our goals achieved. We hope with this, you’re able to get a glimpse of things to come and see why this is so beneficial on so many levels. We hope to make Tracking202 an even greater company in the near future. Thanks for everything to every one of you guys out there! We couldn’t have done it without the support and love you guys have shown us. The ride had been wild and it’ll only get wilder from here on out =]
Steven and Wes