ReachLocal, Inc. (NASDAQ:RLOC), a leader in local online marketing solutions for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), announced today that the company is continuing its international expansion by launching a ReachLocal franchise in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The franchise, OxataSMB BV, is led by Dr. Peter Wiedemann, former CEO of Ataxo, leveraging his considerable experience in building and growing successful online marketing companies in the region. The franchise agreement covers Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia.
ReachLocal is using the franchise model to quickly and cost-effectively enter the Eastern European market and will leverage its European infrastructure to support the new franchise operations.
In CEE, SMBs are transitioning their marketing spend from offline to online to reach the increasing number of consumers using the Internet, highlighted by online advertising in the region growing 19.7% from 2010 to 2011 (1). With an Internet population of approximately 103 million users (2) in 2011, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia are positioned for significant online marketing growth over the next several years .
“Just as we entered the Australian and New Zealand markets by working with key players that had an established local presence and proven online marketing expertise, we are excited to be working with the team at OxataSMB to expand the reach of our online marketing solutions into Central and Eastern Europe,” said Michael Kline, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Local Commerce at ReachLocal. “This franchise agreement is an efficient and scalable strategy to expand into this emerging, high-growth market.”OxataSMB will operate and resell ReachLocal services under the ReachLocal brand in each country. The franchise will follow the ReachLocal direct sales model with local Internet Marketing Consultants leveraging ReachLocal’s technology platform. “ReachLocal’s proven business model and best-in-class technology platform and services makes them the premier partner for us,” said Dr. Peter Wiedemann, CEO of OxataSMB. “We look forward to creating the leading online marketing company for small- and medium-sized businesses in the region.”