Q&A with Robert Reynolds, CPAlead co-founder and CEO about the company’s banner year and building a new kind of online advertising
Online marketing and cost-per-action network CPAlead has had a big year, topped off by its inclusion in the prestigious Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. Co-founder and CEO Robert Reynolds wrote a company pitch in July for StartUp Beat, and we thought we’d follow-up after the big news about the Inc. 500 (check out CPAlead’s StartUp Beat Featured Pitch):
SUB: You did this before for StartUp Beat in the pitch you wrote back in July, but as a refresher, please describe CPAlead and the value proposition you offer to both advertisers and consumers.
Reynolds: CPAlead is a premier online marketing company that specializes in digital content monetization. The company’s flagship solution, the CPAlead Widget, is a web content monetization tool that provides consumers and web publishers with a payment alternative to traditional advertisements and pay walls. Essentially, when a person visits a website, they complete a brief survey, quiz or game, which unlocks the content they wish to view. These incentive-based offerings are sponsored by advertisers who then pay the website publisher for each one that is completed. Advertisers win since they are guaranteed a strong return on their investment given that payment only occurs when they generate revenue. Consumers win because they are able to access the content they seek without being forced to make a payment. In fact, we find that even in the face of websites that require payment, users are able to move through our offers more quickly—so in essence, they save both time and money. Why fill in your payment information when you can complete a quick offer? The result for the website owner which we have observed is that they not only enhanced user experience but experience even greater revenue.
We’re also happy to announce that since our last conversation, CPAlead has taking steps towards delivering the first fully comprehensive platform geared towards allowing website owners of any kind, not only premium content, to monetize their digital content like never before.
SUB: You were just named to Inc.’s annual 500 list as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. What does recognition like this mean for you?
Reynolds: We couldn’t be happier as it is a true validation of the need for a solution like this and all of our hard work. CPAlead was ranked as the #1 fastest growing private online advertising and marketing company, the #6 Internet company and #40 on the overall Inc. 500 list. This is especially poignant as online advertising is predicted to break $40 million in 2014, indicating that it’s an industry that is proving its staying power, even in challenging economic times—and we’re proud to be leading the pack.
SUB: What has your growth been like to this point? How many customers do you currently have? How many have you added, year-over-year?
Reynolds: Since 2009, CPAlead’s client-base has grown to exceed 150,000, adding about 25,000-40,000 website owners and publishers per year. Additionally, our revenue has also grown 4,644 percent from 2009 to 2011.
SUB: What do you think will be the primary drivers for the growth of CPAlead, moving forward?
Reynolds: Thus far our success has been driven by a single solution—the CPAlead widget and our marketing has been word of mouth. Going forward, we’re planning to make significant changes on both fronts. We’ve been working on a solution that would help website owners of all kinds to monetize their digital content instead of just premium content owners. It’s taken quite some time since we decided early on that we didn’t want to simply create a clone of other services as so many advertising and marketing companies do with banner ads and the like—that sort of thing wouldn’t deliver any substantial increase in value to website owners or advertisers, or users. The last time we launched a tool, it revolutionized the way that specific content owners were able to monetize their traffic. Now, we’re priming for an October launch and we’re confident that our new platform, which includes the CPAlead widget, will revolutionize the way website owners everywhere monetize their content.
In terms of marketing, we’re stepping out into the light at this point since we’re finally approaching our ultimate goal of delivering a comprehensive monetization solution. With that, you can expect to see or hear us engaging the media, visiting trade shows, exhibitions and the like.
SUB: What has been the key to your success so far, especially as a startup in a down economy?
Reynolds: We aim to provide a highly-effective online content monetization solution, giving publishers an optimal alternative to traditional methods. But starting out, our company was a fresh face in an online market that was suffering to sell premium services and content—a market that had seen a 32 percent drop in sales. As a result, online publishers were shying away from new forms of content monetization, like ours, in favor of traditional services.
Although we believed our product would have a highly positive impact for online publishers, we needed to first get them to actually use it—gaining the trust of online publishers would be the first step to getting things off the ground.
To do this, we made sure we had proper advertisers on board, whose participation in turn convinced some publishers to give our solution a try. The widget’s performance spoke for itself, and those publishers experienced such success that word of our solution spread like wildfire in the online community. We worked closely with publishers and advertisers to make sure they understood the solution and were getting the most bang for their buck.
We continue to work toward making the CPAlead Widget more widely acknowledged as a revenue source for online publishers. We’re also dedicated to innovating and developing new and exciting tools that will allow CPAlead to provide all website owners with a comprehensive monetization solution for their content.
SUB: Have you increased your employee number since your pitch was published on StartUp Beat (20 at that time—July 22), or have you opened up any new offices? What are your plans for hiring in the short term?
Reynolds: Our employee numbers have remained the same; we’re a strong and efficient crew that’s highly creative and dedicated to our work. We’ll add as needed but hope to hover between the 20-to-30 count. In terms of expanding our office, that may come in the future but for now our home-base of Las Vegas is serving us well.
SUB: Do you plan to seek out any additional outside funding in the near future?
Reynolds: CPAlead has sufficient funds for all our planned endeavors and have no desire to seek any sort of investment or make adjustments to the distribution of our corporate equity profile at all. However, we will always entertain strategic partnerships and joint ventures with organizations that can deliver value.
CPAlead – www.cpalead.com