Performable Wants to Take the Guesswork Out of Web Marketing

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share their own A/B testing results and learn from others’ campaigns. Interestingly, Cancel says the site has attracted large numbers of copywriters and Web designers, who feel that it gives them “a way to make sure the things they’re recommending to clients have measurable benefits—and to show why their work is worth more than a $15 template created by somebody in Romania.”

Cancel says Performable won’t expand much, and won’t even work on raising its public profile or building out its own website, until it’s had time to get its large backlog of beta clients up and running on the Performable platform. “There’s a large amount of consulting involved in bringing new clients on,” he says—a sure sign that the system isn’t quite automated or scalable enough. “Until we figure that out, we’re not going to accelerate.”

Meanwhile, Cancel had some unrelated news to share this week: He’s sold Ghostery, a small business he formed as a side project while working on Lookery. Ghostery is a Firefox browser plugin that alerts Web surfers to the hidden scripts websites use to track visitor behavior. As PaidContent first reported yesterday, the Better Advertising Project, a New York startup promoting accountability in advertising, has purchased the app for an undisclosed price.

Cancel says it was Sim Simeonov, a former partner at Polaris Venture Partners who now runs executive consulting firm FastIgnite, who provided him with an introduction to Better Advertising. He isn’t at liberty to disclose how much the company paid for Ghostery, but wrote in an e-mail late Tuesday that he is “very happy with the sale price,” especially considering that he “didn’t spend anytime marketing it or thinking about it as a business.”

The audience for Ghostery “grew 100 percent organically, instead of pushing a rock up a hill like with my businesses,” Cancel writes. “Ghostery got press and users despite my ignoring it…I’ve heard from many ad networks and publishers like the WSJ and NY Times that their entire ad operations teams use Ghostery internally to track which networks are running on their sites and on competitive sites. Totally amazing to me that they’ve picked it up and use it as part of their day to day workflow. This was all accidental.”

So while Performable is all about making Web-based marketing and selling less accidental, it seems that good things come even to those who don’t study things to death.

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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2 responses to “Performable Wants to Take the Guesswork Out of Web Marketing”

  1. I always have time for a good interview with David Cancel. I like the way he thinks–he’s given me great advice when I’ve asked. I like that he can straddle vision and big picture while always having his feet solidly planted on the ground. That came through in this article.

  2. Online marketing tanácsadó says:

    David cancel is great. Online marketing can only work if it is constantly examined and worked on. That is what my experience dictates. There is no single solution to different problems or results online.