Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

HookLogic Raises $14.3 Million to Expand Its Search Ad Exchange for Retailers Not Named Amazon

For big retailers not named Amazon, HookLogic has a pretty straightforward pitch: Let us give you a new way to make money on your e-commerce site by placing paid product listings on your search results page.

HookLogic CEO Jonathan Opdyke

HookLogic CEO Jonathan Opdyke

HookLogic does this by running its own ad exchange of sorts that lets product brands such as Graco and L’Oreal bid to place their products at the top of search results on sites like Target.com, Staples.com and Rakuten.com.

Google and Amazon dominate product searches in the U.S., but HookLogic is betting that it can build a big enough network of retail sites to continue to attract search dollars from big product manufacturers.

And now it is getting more cash to go out and try to expand significantly. It has raised $14.3 million in a Series B investment round, led by Intel Capital, with participation from Bain Capital Ventures and former Yahoo and Admeld exec Michael Barrett. Barrett joined the company’s board of directors earlier this year.

If you want to see what this looks like in the wild, you can go to Target.com and search for the phrase “jogging stroller.” The top search results are labeled as featured products, and all happen to be from Graco. That’s because Graco is paying HookLogic for placement there.

HookLogic charges these brands anywhere from 15 cents to $4 any time a shopper clicks on one of the sponsored product listings, HookLogic CEO Jonathan Opdyke said in an interview. The brand is betting that it is catching a shopper at the moment they are about to make the purchase, and that it’s worth it to pay to serve up the first products they see when they search. HookLogic then shares that ad revenue with the e-commerce site.

The company started off by offering a similar technology to travel-comparison sites before expanding into retail. It also works with some auto-comparison sites. And now it has the cash to expand a bunch more.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus