Silmore leads AllBusiness.com through evolution

This being the Internet age, it's not surprising when a company relaunches itself seven years into business in order to keep up with the pace of technology.

This being the Internet age, it's not surprising when a company relaunches itself seven years into business in order to keep up with the pace of technology.

That is the case for business media site AllBusiness.com, which in September announced its redesign with video feeds, a customized page presentation, and new tools to help users find what is most relevant to their interests.

At the helm of the relaunch was AllBusiness.com's new VP of marketing, Dan Silmore, hired in September 2005 from Dow Jones' MarketWatch Network of consumer Web sites: MarketWatch. com, BigCharts.com, and VirtualStockExchange.com.

Compared with that of his last job, AllBusiness.com's audience is much more diverse, Silmore says.

"At MarketWatch, it was easy to target: male, investors, 25 to 45," he notes. "That is pretty defined. It presents a different set of challenges. How do you make content appeal to [both] pizza-shop owners and software developers?"

But in a year's time, Silmore has acclimated well. He is extremely hands-on and doesn't like to hover over a big staff and watch other people do the job.

"In a smaller company, you can't have someone who just sits behind the desk," says Peter Horan, AllBusiness.com's CEO. "You need someone who is willing to pick up the phone, go out there, and do the work. You've got to be a player/coach."

Horan notes that since Silmore took his post, he has mapped out an escalating strategy to get the executives of AllBusiness.com quoted as experts on a variety of business issues, from gas prices, to interest rates, to employment trends. The San Bruno, CA-based site has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business 2.0, and Fortune, as well as other publications.

"We are a new company doing some interesting things," explains Horan, "and Dan has done a great job of getting us quoted as expert sources."

Having done well in getting his executives' names out there, Silmore is now focusing on generating stories about the business itself.

To herald the new site, Silmore is working with Padilla Speer Beardsley in New York. The first order of business: an announcement tour, "mainly to make advertisers aware," Silmore explains.

Research is also a key part of Silmore's mandate. As such, AllBusiness.com constantly surveys what is most popular with its visitors. It has found that human resources is a very powerful and growing area of the site, Silmore says. Users look up all kinds of articles and guides on hiring, firing, retaining employees, and career guidance.

The legal area is also popular. Visitors can order inexpensive standard legal agreements online rather than spend hundreds of dollars to have attorneys draft the same thing.

Recent top-visited links include a piece called "Deciphering Business Jargon: Do you know the difference between a blog and a vlog? Ever had an STD? Would you join a reciprocal discretionary alliance?"

Another new addition has been hiring bloggers. Some focus on a niche, like the restaurant blogger. There are also more general bloggers, such as the "personal productivity" writer.

It's all part of Silmore's efforts to keep the site in step with the changing media landscape. Readers now are looking for "media by intention," Horan says. "They don't want to be passive consumers - they want the who, what, and when. People are pulling their own RSS feeds together and creating customized news pages."

Dan Silmore

September 2005-present
VP of marketing, AllBusiness.com

2000-2005
VP of marketing, MarketWatch

1994-2000
VP of e-commerce marketing, Internet division, Wells Fargo & Co.

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