10-K 1 mchx-10k_20161231.htm 10-K mchx-10k_20161231.htm

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016

or

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to                    .

 

Commission File Number 000-50658

Marchex, Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

35-2194038

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S Employer

Identification No.)

520 Pike Street, Suite 2000, Seattle, Washington 98101

(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (206) 331-3300

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class 

 

Name of Exchange on Which Registered 

Class B Common Stock,

$0.01 par value per share

 

The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

(NASDAQ Global Select Market)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ☐    No  

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ☐    No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes      No  ☐

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ☒

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

  

Smaller reporting company

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ☐    No  

Aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $102,428,153 as of June 30, 2016 based upon the closing sale price on the NASDAQ Global Select Market reported for such date. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.

There were 5,056,136 shares of the registrant’s Class A common stock issued and outstanding as of March 6, 2017 and 38,044,263 shares of the registrant’s Class B common stock issued and outstanding as of March 6, 2017.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2017 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein.

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

Part I

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

BUSINESS

3

 

 

 

ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

17

 

 

 

ITEM 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

40

 

 

 

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES

40

 

 

 

ITEM 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

40

 

 

 

ITEM 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

40

 

 

Part II

 

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

41

 

 

 

ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

44

 

 

 

ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

46

 

 

 

ITEM 7A.

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

69

 

 

 

ITEM 8.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

70

 

 

 

ITEM 9.

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

99

 

 

 

ITEM 9A.

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

99

 

 

 

ITEM 9B.

OTHER INFORMATION

99

 

 

Part III

 

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

100

 

 

 

ITEM 11.

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

100

 

 

 

ITEM 12.

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

100

 

 

 

ITEM 13.

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

100

 

 

 

ITEM 14.

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING FEES AND SERVICES

100

 

 

Part IV

 

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

EXHIBITS, FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

101

 

 

 


FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We use words such as “believes”, “intends”, “expects”, “anticipates”, “plans”, “may”, “will” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements regarding our future operating results, financial position, prospects, acquisitions and business strategy, expectations regarding our growth and the growth of the industry in which we operate, and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are inherently uncertain as they are based on our expectations and assumptions concerning future events. Any or all of our forward-looking statements in this report may turn out to be inaccurate. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. They may be affected by inaccurate assumptions we might make or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties, including the risks, uncertainties and assumptions described in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the caption “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the forward-looking events and circumstances discussed in this report may not occur as contemplated, and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated or implied by the forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements in this report are made as of the date hereof, based on information available to us as of the date hereof, and we assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

PART 1

ITEM  1.

BUSINESS.

Overview

References herein to “we,” “us” or “our” refer to Marchex, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries unless the context specifically states or implies otherwise.

Marchex is a mobile advertising analytics company. We power global brands to understand the consumer journey by connecting online behavior to real-world, offline actions.

We believe that mobile devices have forever changed the consumer journey. We believe people are spending more time than ever on their smartphones. It’s second nature to research on mobile devices and interact with a business either over the phone or in a store. We believe that understanding this behavior and connecting key data points of this new online-to-offline consumer journey is the next frontier in marketing analytics.

We believe we have a powerful set of tools for enterprises that depend on phone calls to maximize advertising returns and convert prospects into customers. Our mission is to connect key media sources – paid, earned and owned – to any offline purchase outcome and deliver this insight directly into marketer workflows.  We provide products and services for enterprises that depend on consumer phone calls to drive sales. Our media analytics products can provide actionable intelligence on the major media channels advertisers use to acquire customers over the phone. In February 2017, we launched Marchex Omnichannel Analytics Cloud which helps marketers connect customer conversions driven from paid media channels, including search, display and video, social and sites, to phone calls made to a business. We believe that this omni-channel view of marketing activities can result in smarter media spend and lower new customer acquisition costs, higher phone call conversion rates by callers based on optimized media, and increased customer conversion and revenue to businesses.

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Our primary product offerings are:

 

Marchex Call Analytics. Marchex Call Analytics is an analytics platform for enterprises that depend on inbound phone calls to drive sales, appointments and reservations. Marketers can use this platform to understand which marketing channels, advertisements, keywords and advertising are driving calls to their business, allowing them to optimize their advertising expenditures across media channels. Marchex Call Analytics also includes technology that can extract data and insights about what is happening during a call and measures the outcome of calls and return on investment. The platform also includes technology that blocks robocalls, telemarketers and spam calls to save businesses time. Marchex Call Analytics data can integrate directly into third-party marketer workflows such as Salesforce, Eloqua, Adobe, Kenshoo, DoubleClick Search, Marin Software, and beginning in 2017 Facebook and Instagram, in addition to other marketing dashboards and tools. Advertisers pay us a fee for each call or call related data element they receive from calls including call-based ads we distribute through our sources of call distribution or for each phone number tracked based on pre-negotiated rates.

 

Marchex Search Analytics. Marchex Search Analytics is a product for search marketers that drive phone calls from search campaigns. Marchex Search Analytics attributes inbound phone calls made directly from paid search ads and landing pages to a keyword. The platform can deliver this data as well as data about call outcomes directly into search management platforms like DoubleClick Search and Kenshoo. According to a June 2015 BIA Kelsey report, phone calls from search to businesses from smartphones will reach over 40 billion and the number of mobile searches will exceed desktop searches in 2016.

 

Marchex Display and Video Analytics. Marchex Display and Video Analytics is a product for marketers that buy digital display advertising. Marchex Display and Video Analytics can measure the influence that display advertising has on inbound phone calls so that marketers can better attribute their return on advertising spend for inbound phone calls and delivers this data to marketers in a reporting dashboard. According to a January 2017 eMarketer report, US display advertising spend is expected to reach over $40 billion in 2017.

 

Marchex Social Analytics. Launched in 2017, Marchex Social Analytics is a product for marketers that buy social media advertising. Marchex Social Analytics can measure the influence that social advertising from select sources like Facebook or Instagram has on inbound phone calls so that marketers can better attribute their return on advertising spend for inbound phone calls and delivers this data to marketers in a reporting dashboard. According to a December 2016 Zenith Media report, global social media advertising is forecasted to grow 72% between 2016 and 2019, rising from $29 billion to $50 billion.

 

Marchex Call Marketplace. Marchex Call Marketplace is a mobile advertising network for businesses that depend on inbound phone calls to drive sales. We offer advertisers ad placements across numerous mobile and online media sources to deliver qualified calls to their businesses. It leverages analytics for tracking, reporting and optimization. Advertisers are charged on a pay-per-call or cost per action basis.

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Local Leads. Our local leads platform is a white-labeled, full service advertising solution for small business resellers, such as Yellow Pages providers and vertical marketing service providers, to sell call advertising, search marketing and other lead generation products through their existing sales channels to their small business advertisers. These calls and leads are then fulfilled by us across our distribution network, including mobile sources, and search engines. The lead services we offer to small business advertisers through our local leads platform include pay-for-call, search marketing and ad creation and include advanced features such as call tracking, geo-targeting, campaign management, reporting and analytics. The local leads platform is highly scalable and has the capacity to support hundreds of thousands of advertiser accounts. Reseller partners and publishers generally pay us account fees and agency fees for our products in the form of a percentage of the cost of every click or call delivered to their advertisers. Through our primary contract with Yellowpages.com LLC (“YP”), we generate revenues from our local leads platform. We also have a separate pay-for-call services arrangement with YP. In 2016, we extended these agreements through December 31, 2018. The primary local leads platform arrangement provides YP additional flexibility to migrate active accounts to itself or a third-party provider prior to the end of an advertiser contract and provides YP with certain termination rights beginning January 1, 2018 upon four months prior notice. YP is our largest reseller partner and was responsible for 25%, 29% and 23% of our total revenues in the years ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. We also have a separate distribution partner agreement with YP.

Prior to 2016, we generated pay-per-click advertising revenue from our Archeo business segment on our previously owned and operated websites and third-party distribution sources. In 2015, we sold our Archeo operations. For further discussion regarding the Archeo segment and dispositions, See Note 9. Segment Reporting and Geographic Information and Note 10. Discontinued Operations, Dispositions, and Other of the notes to our consolidated financial statements. We operate primarily in domestic markets.

Industry Overview

Calls are critical for businesses to drive sales. For businesses of all sizes, in-bound phones calls are a key source of new customer leads and increased revenue. We believe consumers that call businesses directly typically have higher purchase intent and are more likely to make a purchase or become a customer. According to BIA/Kelsey Local Commerce Monitor (LCM) survey in 2014, 66% of advertisers rate phone calls as a good or excellent source of leads, more than any other category. Calls are particularly relevant in high-value categories, such as professional services, financial services, cable and satellite, telecom, automotive and travel, where transaction values are large, complex or require additional information prior to completion. Calls are also important for local businesses that set appointments or sell products and services over the phone. According to an April 2014 BIA/Kelsey report, advertisers in the U.S. spend an estimated $68 billion each year to drive telephone leads. Historically, the majority of this advertising has been spent on traditional media such as television, newspapers and directories. With the mass adoption of mobile, both large and small advertisers are increasingly seeking new marketing channels that allow them to connect with consumers over the phone. According to a July 2016 BIA/Kelsey Industry Watch report, mobile calls represents 60% of inbound calls to businesses which equates to 85 billion in global calls annually, that will grow to 169 billion in 2020. In that same report, BIA/Kelsey estimates phone calls influence $1 trillion in U.S. spending at some stage of the path to purchase.

Mobile search and calls from search are growing rapidly. Today we are witnessing an evolution in consumer behavior as Internet-enabled mobile devices proliferate and media consumption shifts to mobile devices. This trend is increasingly evident in the way consumers research products and services and connect with businesses through the phone or through walking into a store, both offline environments, when they are ready to make a purchase decision. According to a 2013 study by Google/Ipsos, over 70% of mobile search users have used a click-to-call feature to connect with a business directly from their mobile devices. According to a BIA/Kelsey study in January 2014, mobile searches also have higher conversion rates in driving calls (57%) compared to desktop searches (7%). Mobile users are more ready-to-buy, in the right location and with a device whose core function is to make phone calls.

5


Ad budgets are shifting to performance-based models. As businesses have expanded their marketing through digital channels, they have increasingly turned to performance-based advertising formats in which they are only charged when a desired outcome is reached. Performance-based advertising models provide advertisers with greater transparency into their advertising spend and the ability to accurately measure results and return on investment. Over time, the online advertising market has shifted from CPM-based banner and display advertisements to cost-per-click search advertising and other forms of performance marketing. According to Interactive Advertising Bureau’s November 2016 advertising revenue report, performance-based formats accounted for 65% of an estimated $60 billion online advertising market in 2016 compared to 7% of the $5 billion market in 1999.

Calls are becoming the currency of mobile advertising. The global mobile advertising market was $71 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow to $247 billion by 2020, according to a 2016 Statista report. As the mobile advertising market matures, we believe advertisers will increasingly utilize performance based advertising formats available on mobile devices, as they did on desktop. Further, we believe the demand for businesses to connect with consumers over the phone combined with the inherent functionality and technical capabilities of mobile devices will result in calls becoming a primary measurement unit/format for mobile advertising. As advertisers continue to shift their budgets to accommodate for the growth of mobile and online channels, we believe the market for call-driven advertising will grow even more.

Understanding calls is highly complex. Unlike clicks, impressions and other actions that are tracked and measured in digital format, calls take place offline and require unique technical capabilities and expertise to accurately measure and analyze. To realize the full benefit of call-based marketing, advertisers need technology that allows them to capture and analyze attributes of a call before, during and after the call is completed. This technology helps them properly measure return on investment (“ROI”) and optimize their marketing campaigns across media channels. For example, advertisers must be able to dynamically track the source of a call back to the media channels and advertisements that influenced the consumer to make the call. Once a call is initiated, technology is required to understand what is happening on a call, to record calls, and to block unwanted or spam calls. For advertisers with call center operations, calls are often tracked and routed through interactive voice response (“IVR”) phone systems and integrated with customer relationship management (“CRM”) applications and back-office systems to measure transactions and return on investment. Successful marketing analytics for calls requires expertise from multiple disciplines, including digital advertising, communications infrastructure, voice and speech recognition expertise, and marketing software.

Our Competitive Strengths

Focus on calls. We were early to realize the value of calls and the importance that mobile devices would play in advertising. Over the past several years, we have shifted the focus of our company to address the large opportunity for mobile performance-based advertising focused on driving offline actions like calls. As a pioneer in the category, we have developed a unique business model that delivers measurable return on investment to both large national advertisers and local small businesses. Our call analytics technology and products are specifically designed to address the unique challenges associated with closing the loop between digital marketing and phone calls. Working closely with our customers, we have innovated in call-based technology, creating specific solutions to address common needs and wants among both large enterprise advertisers and SMBs. We believe we are unique with our call-focused approach to technology developments and marketing solutions, providing a competitive advantage as mobile advertising grows and advertising budgets shift towards performance-based formats.

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Proprietary call analytics technology. Marchex Call Analytics technology provides data and insights to advertisers looking to measure the performance of their mobile, online, and offline ad campaigns. When consumers call a business or call center from their smartphones, our technology can analyze that conversation data and provides detailed feedback to advertisers on the quality of these over-the-phone experiences. Our data also helps advertisers adjust and improve their marketing strategies in order to drive more sales over the phone. This intelligence helps advertisers to optimize their ad campaigns across media channels, keywords, and creative elements, which maximizes their return on investment. We also provide integrations with other marketing dashboards to give advertisers one place to review their analytics information. Integrations may take the form of working with CRM platforms or customer-specific systems, with the purpose of enhancing advertisers’ understanding and measurement of outcomes at scale. We are consistently working to create products to help advertisers spend their budgets more efficiently, whether the channel is online, offline, or mobile and search-based. For example, our search analytics technology tracks every consumer call from a mobile search campaign at the keyword level. It can determine in which of these calls converts into a sale. Access to these insights provides advertisers newfound visibility and measurement into their ad expenditures.

Transparent, performance-based model. Through our call analytics technology, we have a deep understanding of which publishers, devices, ad formats, keywords and ad creatives drive call conversion for specific advertising verticals and helps optimize the placements of advertisements across our network to maximize the number of calls for our advertisers and revenue for our partners. As a result, advertisers utilize us to place ads on their behalf and our partners believe in us that we will only deliver ads on their properties to help generate revenue and/or customers for them. Through our pay-for-call business model, we can better align our interests with those of our advertising customers and our publishing partners. We work with customers to define a quality call for their business, and then only charge our customers, on a per call basis. As a result, we are able to deliver qualified leads that provide a measurable return on investment for our advertisers. We typically pay our publishing partners a percentage of the revenue we generate from advertisements on their properties.

Scalable technology platform and business model. We have developed our technology platform to address the large advertisers, while also being able to support a large number of small local business advertisers. Our platform can support hundreds of millions of calls and over 100,000 unique advertiser accounts, and in aggregate manages hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising spend across various digital channels. We leverage our relationships with Yellow Pages providers and vertical market service providers to efficiently re-sell our solutions to their small businesses customers, adding scale and data to our platform, which provides us with recurring revenues with minimal associated sales costs. We have deployed a direct sales model to acquire and service large advertisers and also have been successful at deepening our relationships with existing advertiser clients over time in an effort to capture a greater share of their advertising budgets.

Strategy

Our Strategy

To take advantage of the shift to performance-based models in marketing, key elements of our strategy include:

Innovating on Our Mobile Performance Advertising. We plan to continue to expand our range of call-based advertising product capabilities and channel specific solutions by growing our call analytics offerings including number provisioning, call tracking, call mining, keyword-level tracking, display ad impression measurement and other products as part of our owned, end-to-end, call-based advertising solutions. We launched Display and Video Analytics in 2016 with general availability in early 2017, which measures the impact of display and video advertising campaigns on inbound phone calls to call centers and stores. In February 2017, we launched Marchex Omnichannel Analytics Cloud which can connect call data to media channels, including search, display and video, social and sites, to phone calls made to a business.  We are also focused on growing our base of call distribution by bringing in new sources of the rapidly growing mobile advertising market as well as other online and offline sources of distribution.

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Supporting and Growing the Number of Advertisers Using Our Products and Services. We plan to continue to provide a consistently high level of service and support to our advertisers and we will continue to help them achieve their return on investment goals. We are focused on continuing to grow our advertiser base through our direct sales and marketing efforts, including strategic sales, inside sales, and additional partnerships with large local advertiser resellers.

Evolving Our Business Strategy. Our industry is undergoing significant change and our business strategy is continuing to evolve to meet these changes. In order to profitably grow our business, we may need to expand into new lines of business beyond our current focus of providing mobile advertising analytics products and services, which may involve pursuing strategic transactions, including potential acquisitions of, or investments in, related or unrelated businesses. In addition, we may seek divestitures of existing businesses or assets.

Pursuing Selective Acquisition Opportunities. We intend to pursue select acquisition opportunities and will apply rigorous evaluation criteria to any acquisitions we may pursue in order to enhance our strategic position, strengthen our financial profile, augment our points of defensibility and increase shareholder value. We will focus on acquisition opportunities that represent one or more of the following characteristics:

 

revenue growth and expanding margins and operating profitability or the characteristics to achieve significant scale and profitability;

 

opportunities for business model, product or service innovation, evolution or expansion;

 

under-leveraged and under-commercialized assets in related or unrelated businesses;

 

an opportunity to enhance efficiencies and provide incremental growth opportunities for our operating businesses; and

 

business defensibility.

Developing New Markets. We intend to analyze opportunities and may seek to expand our technology-based products into new business areas or geographic markets where our services can be replicated on a cost-effective basis, or where the creation or development of a product or service may be appropriate. We have technology integration partnerships and referral agreements with Adobe, DoubleClick, and Salesforce and other third-party marketers; and in 2017, we signed an integration agreement with Facebook. We anticipate utilizing various strategies to enter new markets, including: developing strategic relationships; acquiring products that address a new category or opportunity; and creating joint venture relationships.

Building and Expanding Relationships with Advertising Agencies. Advertising agencies are influential in determining how large national advertisers allocate their advertising budgets. We believe building deep relationships with leading global advertising agencies and creating awareness within these agencies about the benefits of our offerings is an important step in attracting new large advertising customers. We plan to continue building strong relationships with advertising agencies.

Our Distribution Network

We have built a broad distribution network for our pay-for-call advertising services that includes hundreds of mobile sources, search engines and applications, directories, third party vertical and branded web sites, and offline sources. Through our call advertising services, our local leads, and search marketing services, we distribute advertisements from our tens of thousands of advertisers, as well as from our reseller partners’ advertisers, through hundreds of call-ready media and traffic sources, including mobile sources, search engines and directories, and web sites.

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Our Distribution partners include:

 

Selected Carriers

AT&T

T-Mobile

TracFone

Verizon

 

 

 

 

 

Selected Search Engines

Google

Bing

Yahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selected Call Sources and Vertical and Local Distribution

Avantar

Mapquest

xAd

MSN

Google Mobile

Whitepages, Inc.

 

 

Payment arrangements with our distribution partners are often subject to minimum payment amounts per phone call. Other payment structures that we may use to a lesser degree include:

 

variable payments based on a specified metric, such as number of paid phone calls;

 

advance or fixed payments, based on a guaranteed minimum amount of usage delivered; and

 

a combination arrangement with both fixed and variable amounts.

Sales, Marketing & Business Development

Our sales department focuses on adding new advertisers to our business and growing existing advertiser relationships, while our business development and partnership department focuses on adding new reseller partnerships, selectively adding new distribution partnerships and servicing existing partnerships. Our marketing department focuses on promoting our services through online customer acquisition, affiliate relationships, press coverage, strategic marketing campaigns and industry exposure. Advertising and promotion of our services is broken into the following main categories:

 

Direct Sales. Our direct sales team targets new relationships with national and global advertisers and the advertising agencies that represent them through in-person presentations, direct marketing, telesales and attendance at industry events, among other methods. Our advertiser agreements include a combination of agency fees, pay-for-call fees, and cost-per-action fees.

 

Technology Integration Partnerships and Referral Agreements. We have integration partnerships with Adobe, DoubleClick, Salesforce, and other third-party marketers and in 2017, we signed an agreement with Facebook which will integrate across Facebook’s social analytics solution into the Marchex Omnichannel Analytics Cloud. We also have referral agreements with entities that promote our services to large numbers of potential advertisers including select technology partners. Our referral partner agreements are based on a combination of revenue sharing and performance-based fees.

 

Reseller Partnerships. We have a business development team that focuses primarily on securing partnerships with large advertiser reseller partners, under which we supply and integrate our products and services. Our reseller partner agreements include a combination of revenue and profit sharing, licensing revenue, pay-for-call, and cost-per-action.

We intend to continue our strategy of growing our advertiser base through sales and marketing programs while being as efficient as possible in terms of our marketing and advertising costs. We continually evaluate our marketing and advertising strategies to maximize the effectiveness of our programs and their return on investment.

Information Technology and Systems

We have a proprietary technology platform for the purposes of managing and delivering call, click-based, and cost-per-action advertising products and services to our partners. We also combine third party licenses and hardware to create an operating environment for delivering high quality products and services, with such features as automated online account creation and management process for advertisers, real-time customer support with both interactive and online reporting for customers and partners. We employ commercially available technologies and products distributed by various companies, including Cisco, Dell, Oracle, Intel, AMD, Microsoft, IBM, Nuance and Veritas. We also utilize public domain software such as Apache, Linux, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Java, Scala and Tomcat.

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Our technology platform is compatible with the systems used by our distribution partners, enabling us to deliver call, click-based, and cost-per-action advertising products and services through mobile, online and offline sources in rapid response to user queries made through such partners at scale. We continue to build and innovate additional functionality to attempt to meet the quickly evolving demands of the marketplace. We devote significant financial and human resources to improving our advertiser and partner experiences by continuing to develop our technology infrastructure. The cost of developing our technology solutions is included in the overall cost structure of our services and is not separately funded by any individual advertisers or partners. In order to maintain a professional level of service and availability, we primarily rely upon third parties to provide hosting services, including hardware support and service, and network monitoring at various domestic and international locations. Our servers are configured for high availability and large volumes of call, mobile and Internet traffic and are located in leased third party facilities. Back-end databases make use of redundant servers and data storage arrays. We also have standby servers that provide for additional capacity as necessary. The facilities housing our servers provide redundant HVAC, power and internet connectivity. As revenue grows and the volume of transactions and call, mobile and internet traffic increases, we will need to expand our network infrastructure. Inefficiencies in our network infrastructure to scale and adapt to higher call, mobile and internet traffic volumes could materially and adversely affect our revenue and results of operations.

We continuously review ways to improve major aspects of our technology support and maintenance, including improving, upgrading and implementing business continuity plans, data retention initiatives, and backup and recovery processes.

Competition

Our Call-driven offerings currently or potentially compete with a variety of companies in a highly competitive and fragmented industry. We currently or potentially compete with leading search engines such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!, and call analytics technology providers such as Twilio, Telemetrics, Invoca, Convirza, and Dialogtech mobile ad networks and digital advertising networks. As we continue to advance our data analytics technologies, we anticipate facing increased competition from companies providing a wide range of analytics and advertising solutions. We also face competition on the call supply side, where competing companies look to outbid, partner with or otherwise secure sources of call supply we utilize. Many of our potential competitors, as well as potential entrants into our target markets, have longer operating histories, larger customer or user bases, greater brand recognition and greater financial, marketing and other resources than we have. Many current and potential competitors can devote substantially greater resources than we can to marketing, web site and systems development. In addition, as the use of the mobile, Internet, and other online services increases, there will likely be larger, more well-established and well-financed entities that acquire companies relevant to our business strategy; and invest in or form joint ventures in categories or countries relevant to our business strategy; all of which could adversely impact our business. Any of these trends could increase competition, reduce the demand for any of our services and could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

We believe our strategy allows us to work with most, if not all, of the relevant companies in our industry, even those companies that may be perceived as our competitors. To some extent, we may compete with our business partners, as we do with all other types of advertising sales companies and agencies. We may also compete with traditional offline media, such as television, radio and print and direct marketing companies, for a share of advertisers’ total advertising budgets. Although our strategy enables us to work with most, if not all, of our competitors, there are no guarantees that all companies will view us as a potential partner.

We provide our services to and also may compete with: (1) mobile and online advertisers; (2) partners who provide a distribution network for mobile, online, and offline advertising; and (3) other intermediaries who may provide purchasing and/or sales opportunities, including advertising agencies, and other search engine marketing companies. Many of the companies that could fall into these categories are also our partners, including Google, Yahoo!, Citysearch, Microsoft and YP. We depend on maintaining and continually expanding our network of partners and advertisers to generate mobile and online transactions.

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The mobile and online advertising and marketing services industry is highly competitive. In addition, we believe today’s typical Internet and mobile advertiser is becoming more sophisticated in utilizing the different forms of Internet and mobile advertising, purchasing Internet and mobile advertising in a cost-effective manner, and measuring return on investment. The competition for this pool of advertising dollars has also put downward pressure on price points and mobile and online advertisers have demanded more effective means of reaching customers. We believe these factors have contributed to the growth in performance-based advertising relative to certain other forms of online advertising and marketing, and as a result this sector has attracted many competitors.

Due to the long-term growth trends in mobile and online advertising, these competitors, real and potential, range in size and focus. Our competitors may include such diverse participants as small referral companies, established advertising agencies, inventory resellers, search engines, and destination web sites. We are also affected by the competition among destination web sites that reach users or customers of search services. While thousands of smaller outlets are available to customers, several large media and search engine companies, such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and IAC, dominate online user traffic. The online search industry continues to experience consolidation of major web sites and search engines, which has the effect of increasing the negotiating power of these parties in relation to smaller providers. The major destination web sites and distribution providers may have leverage to demand more favorable contract terms, such as pricing, renewal and termination provisions.

There are additional competitive factors relating to attracting and retaining users, including the quality and relevance of our search results, and the usefulness, accessibility, integration and personalization of the mobile and online services that we offer as well as the overall user experience on our web sites. The other features that we offer, which we believe attract advertisers are reach, effectiveness and creativity of marketing services, and tools and information to help track performance.

Finally, we operate in the relatively nascent market of call-based advertising. The adoption of these call-based products could take longer than we expect and could become more competitive as the category becomes more developed and visible.

Seasonality

We believe we will experience seasonality. Our quarterly results have fluctuated in the past and may fluctuate in the future due to seasonal fluctuations in levels of mobile and internet usage and seasonal purchasing cycles of many advertisers. Our experience has shown that during the spring and summer months, mobile and internet usage is lower than during other times of the year and during the latter part of the fourth quarter of the calendar year we generally experience lower call volume and reduced demand for calls from our call advertising customers. The extent to which usage and call volume may decrease during these off-peak periods is difficult to predict. Prolonged or severe decreases in usage and call volume during these periods may adversely affect our growth rate and results and in turn the market price of our securities. Historically, we have seen in the first quarter of the calendar year, this trend generally reversing with increased mobile and internet usage and often new budgets at the beginning of the year for many of our customers with fiscal years ending December 31. However, there can be no assurances such seasonal trends will consistently repeat each year.  The current business environment and our industry has generally both resulted in, and we may continue to see, many advertisers and reseller partners reducing advertising and marketing services budgets or adjusting such budgets throughout the year, changing marketing strategies or agency affiliations, or advertisers being acquired by parent companies with alternative media initiatives, which we expect will impact our quarterly results of operations in addition to the typical seasonality seen in our industry.

Intellectual Property and Proprietary Rights

We seek to protect our intellectual property through existing laws and regulations and by contractual restrictions. We rely upon trademark, patent and copyright law, trade secret protection and confidentiality or license agreements with our employees, customers, partners and others to help us protect our intellectual property.

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Our technologies involve a combination of proprietary rights, owned and developed by us, commercially available software and hardware elements that are licensed or purchased by us from various providers, including Cisco, Dell, Oracle, Intel, Microsoft, IBM and Veritas, and public domain software, such as Apache, Linux, MySQL, IBM Java and Tomcat. We continue to develop additional technologies to update, supplement and replace existing components of the platform. We intend to protect our proprietary rights through patent and additional intellectual property laws.

Our policy is to apply for patents or for other appropriate intellectual property protection when we develop valuable new or improved technology. We currently own the following pending patent applications and issued patents:

 

U.S. Patent Number 7,668,950 entitled “Automatically Updating Performance-Based Online Advertising System and Method” was issued February 23, 2010.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,442,862 entitled “Method and System for Tracking Telephone Calls” was issued on May 14, 2013 and a corresponding divisional Patent Application Number 13/294,436 was filed November 11, 2011. The following divisional applications of Patent Application Number 13/294,436 were also filed: 14/045,536 titled “Method and System for Phone Number Cleaning” was filed November 3, 2013; 14/058,037 titled “Method and System for Collecting Data from Advertising Campaigns Including Phone Number Placement Techniques” was filed November 18, 2013; 14/058,080 titled “Method and System for Monitoring Campaign Referral Sources” was filed October 18, 2013, and 14/065,345 titled “Method and System for Tracking Telephone Calls” was filed October 28, 2013.

 

U.S. Patent Number 6,822,663 entitled “Transform Rule Generator for Web-Based Markup Languages” was issued November 23, 2004.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,583,571 entitled “Facility for Reconciliation of Business Records Using Genetic Algorithms” was issued November 12, 2013.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,433,048 entitled “System and Method to Direct Telephone Calls to Advertisers” was issued April 30, 2013.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,259,915 entitled “System and Method to Analyze Calls to Advertised Telephone Numbers” was issued September 4, 2012 and its continuation Patent Number 8,788,344 was issued July 22, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,630,393 entitled “System and Method for Blocking Telephone Calls” was issued January 14, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Number 7,212,615 entitled “Criteria Based Marketing For Telephone Directory Assistance” was issued May 1, 2007 and owned by Jingle Networks, which we acquired in 2011.

 

U.S. Patent Number 7,702,084 entitled “Toll-Free Directory Assistance With Preferred Advertisement Listing” was issued April 20, 2010.

 

U.S. Patent Number 7,961,861 entitled “Telephone Search Supported By Response Location Advertising” was issued June 14, 2011.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,367,846 entitled “Telephone Search Supported By Advertising Based On Past History Of Requests” was issued June 14, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,175,231 entitled “Toll-Free Directory Assistance With Automatic Selection Of An Advertisement From A Category” issued May 8, 2012.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,107,602 entitled “Directory Assistance With Data Processing Station” was issued January 31, 2012.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,929,522 entitled “System and Method to Customize a Connection Interface for Multimodal Connection to a Telephone Number” was issued January 16, 2015.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,634,520 entitled “Call Tracking System Utilizing an Automated Filtering Function” was issued January 21, 2014.

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U.S. Patent Number 8,671,020 entitled “Call Tracking System Utilizing a Pooling Algorithm” was issued March 11, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,687,782 entitled “Call Tracking System Utilizing a Sampling Algorithm” was issued April 1, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Application Number 13/865,966 entitled “Correlated Consumer Telephone Numbers and User Identifiers for Advertising Retargeting” was filed April 18, 2013, claiming priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 61/801,893 entitled “Cross-Channel Targeting Using Historical Online and Call Data” filed March 15, 2013, and its continuation Patent Application Number 15/019,826 entitled “Cross-Channel Correlation of Consumer Telephone Numbers and User Identifiers” was filed February 9, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,118,751 entitled “System and Method for Analyzing and Classifying Calls without Transcription” was issued August 25, 2015.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,263,038 entitled “System and Method for Analyzing and Classifying Calls Without Transcription via Keyword Spotting” was issued February 16, 2016.

 

US Patent Number 9,484,026 entitled “System and Method for Analyzing and Classifying Calls Without Transcription via Keyword Spotting” was issued November 1, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,232,052 entitled “Analyzing Voice Characteristics to Detect Fraudulent Call Activity and Take Corrective Action Without Using Recording, Transcription or Caller ID” was issued January 5, 2016 and its continuation Patent Application Number 14/987,565 was filed January 4, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Application Number 14/550,089 entitled “Identifying Call Characteristics to Detect Fraudulent Call Activity and Take Corrective Action Without Using Recording, Transcription or Caller ID” was filed November 21, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Application Number 14/714,141 entitled “Call Analytics for Mobile Advertising” was filed May 15, 2015.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,485,354 entitled “Identifying Call Features and Associations to Detect Call Traffic Pumping and Take Corrective Action” was issued November 1, 2016.

The status of any patent involves complex legal and factual questions. The scope of allowable claims is often uncertain. As a result, we cannot be sure that: (1) any patent application filed by us will result in a patent being issued; (2) that any patents issued in the future will afford adequate protection against competitors with similar technology; and (3) that the patents issued to us, if any, will not be infringed upon or designed around by others. Furthermore, the performance-based mobile and search advertising industry has been the subject of numerous patents and patent applications, which in turn has resulted in litigation. The mobile advertising industry is also witnessing a significant number of patent related lawsuits. The outcome of this ongoing litigation or any future claims in this sector may adversely affect our business or financial prospects.

We have registered trademarks in the United States for Marchex, Marchex and Design, Marchex Voice Services, JingleConnect, Clean Call, and Call DNA. We also own pending U.S. trademark applications for Call Genome and Search Genome. In addition, we have trademark registrations for Marchex in the following jurisdictions: Australia, Benelux, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation and Taiwan.

We do not know whether we will be able to successfully defend our proprietary rights since the validity, enforceability and scope of protection of proprietary rights in Internet-related industries are uncertain and still evolving.

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Regulation

The manner in which existing laws and regulations should be applied to the Internet and call-based advertising services in general, and how they relate to our businesses in particular, is unclear. A host of federal and state laws covering user privacy, defamation, pricing, advertising, taxation, gambling, sweepstakes, promotions, financial market regulation, quality of products and services, computer trespass, telemarketing, spyware, adware, child protection and intellectual property ownership and infringement are potentially applicable to our business practices and the content offered by our mobile and online distribution partners.

In addition, our business is impacted by laws in a constant state of flux, and new legislation is introduced on a regular basis. Any such new legislation could expose us to substantial liability, including significant expenses necessary to comply with such laws and regulations. Courts may apply each of these laws in unintended and unexpected ways. As a company that provides services over the Internet as well as call recording and call tracking services, we may be subject to an action brought under any of these or future laws.

A number of federal, state and foreign laws that could have an impact on our business practices and compliance costs have already been adopted:

 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides protection from copyright liability for online service providers that list or link to third party web sites. We currently qualify for the safe harbor under the DMCA; however, if it were determined that we did not meet the safe harbor requirements, we could be exposed to copyright infringement litigation, which could be costly and time-consuming.

 

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) restricts the online collection of personal information about children and the use of that information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the authority to impose fines and penalties upon web site operators and online service providers that do not comply with the law’s requirements. We do not currently offer any web sites or online services “directed to children,” nor do we knowingly collect personal information from children.

 

The Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act requires online service providers to report evidence of violations of federal child pornography laws under certain circumstances.

 

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003 establishes requirements for those who send commercial e-mails, spells out penalties for entities that transmit noncompliant commercial e-mail and/or whose products are advertised in noncompliant commercial e-mail and gives consumers the right to opt-out of receiving commercial e-mails. The majority of the states also have adopted similar statutes governing the transmission of commercial e-mail. The FTC and the states, as applicable, are authorized to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act and the state-specific statutes, respectively. CAN-SPAM gives the Department of Justice the authority to enforce its criminal sanctions. Other federal and state agencies can enforce the law against organizations under their jurisdiction, and companies that provide Internet access may sue violators as well.

 

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act prevents private entities from disclosing Internet subscriber records and the contents of electronic communications, subject to certain exceptions.

 

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other federal and state laws protect computer users from unauthorized computer access/hacking, and other actions by third parties which may be viewed as a violation of privacy. Courts may apply each of these laws in unintended and unexpected ways. As a company that provides services over the Internet as well as call recording and call tracking services, we may be subject to an action brought under any of these or future laws.

 

Among the types of legislation currently being considered at the federal and state levels are consumer laws regulating for the use of certain types of software applications or downloads and the use of “cookies.” These proposed laws are intended to target specific types of software applications often referred to as “spyware,” “invasiveware” or “adware,” and may also cover certain applications currently used in the online advertising industry to serve and distribute advertisements. In addition, the FTC has sought inquiry regarding the implementation of a “do-not-track” requirement. Federal legislation is also expected to be introduced that would regulate “online behavioral advertising” practices. If passed, these laws would impose new obligations for companies that use such software applications or technologies.

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The Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “Act”), and the regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission under Title II of the Act, may impose federal licensing, reporting and other regulatory obligations on the Company. To the extent we contract with and use the networks of voice over IP service providers, new legislation or FCC regulation in this area could restrict our business, prevent us from offering service or increase our cost of doing business. There are an increasing number of regulations and rulings that specifically address access to commerce and communications services on the Internet, including IP telephony. We are unable to predict the impact, if any that future legislation, legal decisions or regulations concerning voice services offered via the Internet may have on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

The U.S. Congress, the FCC, state legislatures or state agencies may target, among other things, access or settlement charges, imposing taxes related to Internet communications, imposing tariffs or other regulations based on encryption concerns, or the characteristics and quality of products and services that we may offer. Any new laws or regulations concerning these or other areas of our business could restrict our growth or increase our cost of doing business.

 

The FCC has initiated a proceeding regarding the regulation of broadband services. The increasing growth of the broadband IP telephony market and popularity of broadband IP telephony products and services heighten the risk that the FCC or other legislative bodies will seek to regulate broadband IP telephony and the Internet. In addition, large, established telecommunication companies may devote substantial lobbying efforts to influence the regulation of the broadband IP telephony market, which may be contrary to our interests.

 

There is risk that a regulatory agency will require us to conform to rules that are unsuitable for IP communications technologies or rules that cannot be complied with due to the nature and efficiencies of IP routing, or are unnecessary or unreasonable in light of the manner in which we offer voice-related services such as call recording and pay-for-call services to our customers.

 

Federal and state telemarketing laws including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

 

Laws affecting telephone call recording and data protection, such as consent and personal data statutes. Under the federal Wiretap Act, at least one party taking part in a call must be notified if the call is being recorded. Under this law, and most state laws, there is nothing illegal about one of the parties to a telephone call recording the conversation. However, several states (i.e., California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington) require that all parties consent when one party wants to record a telephone conversation. The telephone recording laws in other states, like federal law, require only one party to be aware of the recording.

 

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act may require that we undertake material modifications to its platforms and processes to permit wiretapping and other access for law enforcement personnel.

 

Under various Orders of the Federal Communications Commission, including its Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Docket Number WC 04-36, dated June 27, 2006, we may be required to make material retroactive and prospective contributions to funds intended to support Universal Service, Telecommunications Relay Service, Local Number Portability, the North American Numbering Plan and the budget of the Federal Communications Commission.

 

Laws in most states of the United States of America may require registration or licensing of one or more of our subsidiaries, and may impose additional taxes, fees or telecommunications surcharges on the provision of our services which we may not be able to pass through to customers.

 

Our international operations may expose us to telecommunications regulations in the countries where we are operating and these regulations could negatively affect the viability of our business.

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In addition, there are a large number of federal and state legislative proposals related to our business. It is not possible to predict whether, or when, such legislation might be adopted, and certain proposals, if adopted, could result in a decrease in user registrations and revenue.

We comply with existing law and intend to fully comply with all future laws and regulations that may govern our industry. We have dedicated internal resources and hired outside professionals who regularly establish, review and maintain policies and procedures to reduce the risk of noncompliance. Nevertheless, these laws may impose significant additional costs on our business or subject us to additional liability, if we failed to fully comply, even if such failure was unintentional.

The acquisition of Internet domains generally is governed by Internet regulatory bodies, predominantly the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). The regulation of Internet domains in the United States and in foreign countries is subject to change. ICANN and other regulatory bodies could establish additional requirements for previously owned Internet domains or modify the requirements for Internet domains. Furthermore, ICANN has and will likely continue to make changes to the scope of domain products available to the marketplace that could have an impact on the competition for domain.

Compliance with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our international operations increases our cost of doing business in international jurisdictions and could interfere with our ability to offer our products and services to one or more countries or expose us or our employees to fines and penalties. Our continued international expansion also subjects us to increased foreign currency exchange rate risks and will require additional management attention and resources. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in our international expansion.

We post a privacy policy which describes our practices concerning the use and disclosure of any user data collected or submitted via our web sites. Any failure by us to comply with our posted privacy policies, Federal Trade Commission requirements or other federal, state or international privacy or direct marketing laws and regulations could result in governmental or regulatory investigations that could potentially harm our businesses, operational results and overall financial condition.

Employees

As of December 31, 2016, we employed a total of 291 full-time employees. We have never had a work stoppage, and none of our employees are represented by a labor union. We consider our employee relationships to be positive. If we were unable to retain our key employees or we were unable to maintain adequate staffing of qualified employees, particularly during peak sales seasons, our business would be adversely affected.

Web site

Our web site, www.marchex.com, provides access, without charge, to our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after such materials are electronically filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. To view these filings, please go to our web site and click on “Investor Relations” and then click on “SEC Filings.” Investors and others should note that we announce material financial information to our investors using our investor relations website, press releases, SEC filings, and public conference calls and webcasts. We also use the following social media channels as a means of disclosing information about us, our services, and other matters, and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD:

 

Marchex Twitter Account (https://twitter.com/marchex)

 

Marchex Company Blog (http://blog.marchex.com/)

 

Marchex LinkedIn Account (http://linkedin.com/company/marchex)  

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The information we post through these social media channels may be deemed material. Accordingly, investors should monitor the above account and the blog, in addition to following our investor relations website, press releases, SEC filings, and public conference calls and webcasts. This list may be updated from time to time. The information we post through these channels is not a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

ITEM 1A.

RISK FACTORS

An investment in our Class B common stock involves various risks, including those mentioned below and those that are discussed from time to time in our other periodic filings with the SEC. Investors should carefully consider these risks, along with the other information contained in this report, before making an investment decision regarding our stock. There may be additional risks of which we are currently unaware, or which we currently consider immaterial. All of these risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and the value of our stock.

Risks Relating to Our Company

We have largely incurred net losses since our inception, and we may incur net losses in the foreseeable future.

We had an accumulated deficit of $247.6 million as of December 31, 2016. Our net expenses may increase based on the initiatives we undertake which for instance, may include increasing our sales and marketing activities, hiring additional personnel, incurring additional costs as a result of being a public company, acquiring additional businesses and making additional equity grants to our employees.  This may result in the reduction of our cash balances or the incurrence of debt.  

 

We have in the past and may in the future find it advisable to take measures to streamline operations and reduce expenses, including, without limitation, reducing our workforce or discontinuing certain products or businesses. Such measures may place significant strains on our management and employees, and could impair our development, marketing, sales, and customer support efforts. We may also incur liabilities from these measures. Such effects from streamlining could have a negative impact on our business and financial results.

We believe that our future revenue growth will depend on, among other factors, our ability to attract new advertisers, compete effectively, maximize our sales efforts, demonstrate a positive return on investment for advertisers, successfully improve existing products and services, develop successful new products and services and expand internationally. If we are unable to generate adequate revenue growth and to manage our expenses, we may continue to incur significant losses in the future and may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability.

We are dependent on certain distribution partners, for distribution of our services, and we derive a significant portion of our total revenue through these distribution partners. A loss of distribution partners or a decrease in revenue from certain distribution partners could adversely affect our business.

A relatively small number of distribution partners currently deliver a significant percentage of calls and traffic to our advertisers. Our largest distribution partner was paid less than 10% of total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2016. Our existing agreements with many of our other larger distribution partners permit either company to terminate without penalty on short notice and are primarily structured on a variable-payment basis, under which we make payments based on a specified percentage of revenue or based on the number of paid phone calls or click-throughs. We intend to continue devoting resources in support of our larger distribution partners, but there are no guarantees that these relationships will remain in place over the short-or long-term. In addition, we cannot be assured that any of these distribution partners will continue to generate current levels of revenue for us or that we will be able to maintain the applicable variable payment terms at their current levels. A loss of any of these distribution partners or a decrease in revenue or contribution due to lower calls and traffic or less favorable variable payment terms from any one of these distribution relationships could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Companies distributing advertising through mobile or online Internet have experienced, and will likely continue to experience, consolidation. This consolidation has reduced the number of partners that control the mobile and online advertising outlets with the most user calls and traffic. According to the comScore qSearch analysis of the U.S. desktop search marketplace for November 2016, Yahoo! and Microsoft accounted for 11.6% and 22.3%, respectively, of the core search market in the United States and Google accounted for 63.7%. As a result, the larger distribution partners have greater control over determining the market terms of distribution, including placement of call and click-based advertisements and cost of placement. In addition, many participants in the performance-based advertising and search marketing industries control significant portions of mobile and online traffic that they deliver to advertisers. We do not believe, for example, that Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! are as reliant as we are on a third party distribution network to deliver their services. This gives these companies a significant advantage over us in delivering their services, and with a lesser degree of risk.

We rely on certain advertiser reseller partners and agencies, including YP, Resolution Media, OMD Digital, hibu, Inc., CDK Global, Yodle, and Yellow Pages Ltd (“YPG”) for the purchase of various advertising and marketing services, as well as to provide us with a large number of advertisers. A loss of certain advertiser reseller partners and agencies or a decrease in revenue from these reseller partners and agencies could adversely affect our business. Such advertisers are subject to varying terms and conditions, which may result in claims or credit risks to us.

We benefit from the established relationships and national sales teams that certain of our reseller partners, who are leading reseller partners of advertisers and advertising agencies, have in place throughout the U.S. and international markets. These advertiser reseller partners and agencies refer or bring advertisers to us for the purchase of various advertising products and services. We derive a sizeable portion of our total revenue through these advertiser reseller partners and agencies. Additionally, these advertiser reseller partners and agencies may decide to operate the advertising services we perform internally with their own teams and technology. A loss of certain advertiser reseller partners and agencies or a decrease in revenue from these clients could adversely affect our business.

Through our primary contract with YP, we generate revenues from our local leads platform. We also have a separate pay-for-call services arrangement with YP. In 2016, we extended these agreements through December 31, 2018. The primary local leads platform arrangement provides YP additional flexibility to migrate active accounts to itself or a third-party provider prior to the end of an advertiser contract and provides YP with certain termination rights beginning January 1, 2018 upon four months prior notice. YP is our largest reseller partner and was responsible for 23% of our total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2016.  Our revenues from YP as a percentage of our total revenue have decreased and may continue to comprise a smaller percentage of our total revenue.   We expect YP may decrease the number of new advertiser accounts with us and may elect to migrate certain active accounts to itself or a third party provider which would result in fewer small business accounts and related revenues, as well as reduced contribution and profitability.  YP’s small business account base utilizing our platform has declined, and to the extent declines occur in their business, their small business accounts may spend fewer dollars on our pay-for-call services.  We expect YP in future periods will comprise lower total revenues compared to previous periods.  We also have a separate distribution partner agreement with YP. There can be no assurance that our business with them in the future will continue at or near current revenue and contribution levels, that we will be able to renew and extend the contracts, and if renewed, the contracts may be on less favorable terms to us, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our future operating results.

We also have arrangements with advertising agencies, such as Resolution Media and OMD Digital, who act on an advertiser’s behalf and may represent more than one advertiser that utilizes our products and services. Our primary arrangements with Resolution Media and OMD Digital are for pay-for-call services whereby we charge an agreed-upon price for qualified calls or leads from our network and call analytic services. Resolution Media and OMD Digital accounted for 20% and less than 10% of total revenues, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2016.

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These reseller partners and agencies may in certain cases be subject to negotiated terms and conditions separate from those applied to advertising clients. In some cases, the applicable contract terms may be the result of legacy or industry association documentation or simply customized advertising solutions for large reseller partners and agencies. In any case, as a consequence of such varying terms and conditions, we may be subject to claims or credit risks that we may otherwise mitigate more efficiently across our automated advertiser management platform.

These claims and risks may vary depending on the nature of the aggregated client base. Among other claims, we may be subject to disputes based on third party tracking information or analysis. We may also be subject to differing credit profiles and risks based on the agency relationship associated with these advertisers. For such advertisers, payment may be made on an invoice basis, unlike our retail platform, which in many instances is paid in advance of the service. In some limited circumstances we may also have accepted individual advertiser payment liability in place of liability of the advertising agency or media advisor.

We received approximately 61% and 60% of our revenue from our five largest customers for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2016, respectively, and the loss of one or more of these customers could adversely impact our results of operations and financial condition.

Our five largest customers accounted for approximately 61% and 60% of our total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2016, respectively. YP and Resolution Media were our largest customers and were responsible for 23% and 20% of our total revenues, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Through our primary contract with YP, we generate revenues from our local leads platform. We also have a separate pay-for-call services arrangement with YP. In 2016, we extended these agreements through December 31, 2018. The primary local leads platform arrangement provides YP additional flexibility to migrate active accounts to itself or a third-party provider prior to the end of an advertiser contract and provides YP with certain termination rights beginning January 1, 2018 upon four months prior notice. Our revenues from YP as a percentage of our total revenue have decreased and may continue to comprise a smaller percentage of our total revenue.  We expect YP may decrease the number of new advertiser accounts with us and may elect to migrate certain active accounts to itself or a third party provider which would result in fewer small business accounts and related revenues, as well as reduced contribution and profitability. YP’s small business account base utilizing our platform has declined, and to the extent declines occur in their business, their small business accounts may spend fewer dollars on our pay-for-call services. We expect YP in future periods will comprise lower total revenues compared to previous periods. We also have a separate distribution partner agreement with YP. There can be no assurance that our business with them in the future will continue at or near current revenue and contribution levels, that we will be able to renew and extend the contracts, and if renewed, the contracts may be on less favorable terms to us, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our future operating results.

Our primary arrangement with Resolution Media, who acts as an agent on advertisers’ behalf, is for pay-for-call services whereby we charge an agreed upon price for qualified calls or leads from our network and call analytic services. A single advertiser, State Farm, represented the majority of the revenue generated by Resolution Media for the year ended December 31, 2016. State Farm, who utilizes our services through multiple relationships, accounted for 23% of total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2016. We expect campaign spend levels related to State Farm to be lower compared to previous periods, which will result in lower total revenues and contributions.  

 

Many of our other largest customers are not subject to long term contracts with us or have contracts with near term expiration dates such as YPG, and are able to reduce or cease advertising spend at any time and for any reason. We expect YPG revenues to be lower compared to previous periods.

 

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In some cases, we engage with our customers through advertising agencies, who act on behalf of the customer. Advertising agencies, such as Resolution Media and OMD Digital, may place insertion orders with us on behalf of advertisers (including State Farm) for particular advertising campaigns for a set period of time and are not obligated to commit beyond the campaign governed by a particular insertion order and may also cancel the campaign prior to completion. Advertising agencies also have relationships with many different providers, each of whom may be running portions of the advertising campaign. If any of our largest customers are acquired, such acquisition may impact its advertising spending or budget with us, including due to rebranding, change in advertising agency, or change in media tactics.  A significant reduction in advertising spending or budgets by our largest customers, or the loss of one or more of these customers, if not replaced by new customers or an increase in business from existing customers, would have a material adverse effect on our future operating results.

Our large customers have substantial negotiating leverage, which may require that we agree to terms and conditions that may have an adverse effect on our business.

Our large customers have substantial purchasing power and leverage in negotiating contractual arrangements with us. These customers may seek for us to develop additional features, may require penalties for failure to deliver such features, may seek discounted product or service pricing, and may seek more favorable contractual terms. As we sell more products and services to this class of customer, we may be required to agree to such terms and conditions. Such large customers also have substantial leverage in negotiating resolution of any disagreements or disputes that may arise. Any of the foregoing factors could result in a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If some of our customers experience financial distress or suffer disruptions in their business, their weakened financial position could negatively affect our own financial position and results.

We have a diverse customer base and, at any given time, one or more customers may experience financial distress, file for bankruptcy protection, go out of business, or suffer disruptions in their business. If a customer with whom we do a substantial amount of business experiences financial difficulty or suffers disruptions in their business, it could delay or jeopardize the collection of accounts receivable, result in significant reductions in services provided by us and may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity.

We may incur liabilities for the activities of our advertisers, reseller partners, distribution partners and other users of our services, which could adversely affect our business.

Many of our advertisement distribution processes are automated. In some cases, advertisers or reseller partners use our online tools and account management systems to create and submit advertiser listings, and in other cases, we create and submit advertising listings on behalf of our advertisers or reseller partners using the distribution partners’ user interface. Although we monitor our distribution partners on an ongoing basis primarily for traffic quality, these partners control the distribution of the advertiser listings provided in the user interface submissions.

We have a large number of distribution partners who display our advertiser listings on their networks. Our advertiser listings are delivered to our distribution partners in an automated fashion through the distribution partners’ user interface. Our distribution partners are contractually required to use the listings created by our advertiser customers in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and in conformity with the publication restrictions in our agreements, which are intended to promote the quality and validity of the traffic provided to our advertisers. Nonetheless, we do not operationally control or manage these distribution partners or third parties they may contract with and any breach of these agreements on the part of any distribution partner or its affiliates could result in liability for our business. These agreements include indemnification obligations on the part of our distribution partners, but there is no guarantee that we would be able to collect against offending distribution partners or their affiliates in the event of a claim under these indemnification provisions. Alternatively, we may incur substantial costs as part of our indemnification obligations to distribution partners for liability they may incur as a result of displaying content we have provided them. Any costs incurred as a result of activities of our distribution partners and their third party partners could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

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We do not conduct a manual editorial review of a substantial number of the advertiser listings directly submitted by advertisers or reseller partners online, nor do we manually review the display of the vast majority of the advertiser listings by our distribution partners submitted to us by the distribution partners’ user interface. Likewise, in cases where we provide editorial or value-added services for our large reseller partners or agencies, such as ad creation and optimization for local advertisers or landing pages and micro-sites for pay-for-call customers, we rely on the content and information provided to us by these agents on behalf of their individual advertisers. We do not investigate the individual business activities of these advertisers other than the information provided to us or in some cases review of advertiser websites. We may not successfully avoid liability for unlawful activities carried out by our advertisers or reseller partners and other users of our services or unpermitted uses of our advertiser listings by distribution partners and their affiliates.

Our potential liability for unlawful activities of our advertisers and other users of our services or unpermitted uses of our advertiser listings and advertising services and platform by distribution partners and reseller partners and agencies could require us to implement measures to reduce our exposure to such liability, which may require us, among other things, to spend substantial resources, to discontinue certain service offerings or to terminate certain distribution partner relationships. For example, as a result of the actions of advertisers in our network, we may be subject to private or governmental actions relating to a wide variety of issues, such as privacy, gambling, promotions, and intellectual property ownership and infringement. Under agreements with certain of our larger distribution partners, we may be required to indemnify these distribution partners against liabilities or losses resulting from the content of our advertiser listings, or resulting from third party intellectual property infringement claims. Although our advertisers agree to indemnify us with respect to claims arising from these listings, we may not be able to recover all or any of the liabilities or losses incurred by us as a result of the activities of our advertisers.

Our insurance policies may not provide coverage for liability arising out of activities of users of our services. In addition, our reliance on some content and information provided to us by our large advertiser reseller partners and agencies may expose us to liability not covered by our insurance policies. Furthermore, we may not be able to obtain or maintain adequate insurance coverage to reduce or limit the liabilities associated with our businesses. Any costs incurred as a result of such liability or asserted liability could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. Our insurance policies may not provide coverage for liability arising out of activities of users of our services. In addition, our reliance on some content and information provided to us by our large advertiser reseller partners and agencies may expose us to liability not covered by our insurance policies. Furthermore, we may not be able to obtain or maintain adequate insurance coverage to reduce or limit the liabilities associated with our businesses. Any costs incurred as a result of such liability or asserted liability could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

If we do not maintain and grow a critical mass of advertisers and distribution partners, the value of our services could be adversely affected.

Our success depends, in large part, on the maintenance and growth of a critical mass of advertisers and distribution partners and a continued interest in our call analytics, pay-for-call, performance-based advertising, and search marketing services. Advertisers will generally seek the most competitive return on investment from advertising and marketing services. Distribution partners will also seek the most favorable payment terms available in the market. Advertisers and distribution partners may change providers or the volume of business with a provider, unless the product and terms are competitive. In this environment, we must compete to acquire and maintain our network of advertisers and distribution partners. If our business is unable to maintain and grow our base of advertisers, our current distribution partners may be discouraged from continuing to work with us, and this may create obstacles for us to enter into agreements with new distribution partners. Our business also depends in part on certain of our large reseller partners and agencies to grow their base of advertisers as these advertisers become increasingly important to our business and our ability to attract additional distribution partners and opportunities. Similarly, if our distribution network does not grow and does not continue to improve over time, current and prospective advertisers and reseller partners and agencies may reduce or terminate this portion of their business with us. Any decline in the number of advertisers and distribution partners could adversely affect the value of our services.

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The mobile advertising market may develop more slowly than expected, which could harm our business.

If the market for mobile marketing and advertising develops more slowly than we expect, our business could suffer. Our future success is highly dependent on the commitment of advertisers and marketers to mobile communications as an advertising and marketing medium, the willingness of our potential advertisers to outsource their mobile advertising and marketing needs, and our ability to sell our mobile advertising services to reseller partners and agencies. The mobile advertising and marketing market is rapidly evolving. Businesses, including current and potential advertisers, may find mobile advertising or marketing to be less effective than traditional advertising media or marketing methods or other technologies for promoting their products and services. As a result, the future demand and market acceptance for mobile marketing and advertising is uncertain. Many of our current or potential advertisers may have little or no experience using mobile communications for advertising or marketing purposes and have allocated only a limited portion of their advertising or marketing budgets to mobile communications advertising or marketing, and there is no certainty that they will allocate more funds in the future, if any. Funds to these types of campaigns may fluctuate greatly as different agencies and advertisers test and refine their overall marketing strategies to include mobile advertising and analytics tools. The adoption rate and budget commitments may vary from period to period as agencies and advertisers determine the appropriate mix of media and lead sources in short term and longer term campaigns.

We are dependent upon the quality of mobile, online, offline and other traffic sources in our network to provide value to our advertisers and the advertisers of our reseller partners and agencies, and any failure in our quality control could have a material adverse effect on the value of our services to our advertisers and adversely affect our revenues.

We utilize certain monitoring processes with respect to the quality of the mobile, online, offline and other traffic sources that we deliver to our advertisers. Among the factors we seek to monitor are sources and causes of low quality phone calls such as unwanted telemarketer calls or other actions such as non-human processes, including robots or robocallers, spiders or other software, the mechanical automation of calling, and other types of invalid calls, call fraud, or call spam, the purpose of which is something other than to view the underlying content. Additionally, we also seek to identify other indicators which may suggest that a user may not be targeted by or desirable to our advertisers. Even with such monitoring in place, there is a risk that a certain amount of low quality mobile, online, offline and other traffic or traffic that is deemed to be less valuable by our advertisers will be delivered to such advertisers, which may be detrimental to those relationships. We have regularly refunded fees that our advertisers had paid to us which were attributed to low quality mobile, online, offline and other traffic. If we are unable to stop or reduce low quality phone calls and Internet traffic, these refunds may increase. Low quality mobile, online, offline and other traffic may further prevent us from growing our base of advertisers and cause us to lose relationships with existing advertisers, or become the target of litigation, both of which would adversely affect our revenues.

We depend on being able to secure enough phone numbers to support our advertisers and other users of our services and any obstacles that we face which prevent us from meeting this demand could adversely affect our business.

We utilize phone numbers as part of a number of information and analytic services to advertisers, such as our call analytics, call tracking, and pay-for-call services. Our services that utilize phone numbers are designed to enable advertisers and other users of our services to utilize mobile, online and offline advertising and to help measure the effectiveness of mobile, online and offline advertising campaigns. We secure a majority of our phone numbers through telecommunication carriers that we have contracted with and a smaller number through the 800 Service Management System, and such telecommunication carriers provide the underlying telephone service. Our telecommunications carriers and telephone number acquisition process are subject to the rules and guidelines established by the Federal Communications Commission. Furthermore, to the extent we offer call recording and pay-for-call services, we may be directly subject to certain telecommunications-related regulations. The Federal Communications Commission and our telecommunication carriers may change the rules and guidelines for securing phone numbers or change the requirements for retaining the phone numbers we have already secured. As a result, we may not be able to secure or retain sufficient phone numbers needed for our services. We may also be limited in the number of available telecommunications carriers or vendors to provide such phone numbers to us in the event of any industry consolidations.

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Our automated voice and mobile advertising-based technologies are heavily reliant on vendors.

Certain voice and mobile advertising-based products are heavily reliant on vendors. The free directory product that we provide relies on technology provided by third party vendors that include voice recognition software and business, government and residence data listings. We cannot guarantee that the technology, data and services provided by our third party vendors will be of sufficient quality to meet the demands of our customers and partners. Further, we cannot guarantee that the technologies, data and services will be available to us in the future on acceptable terms, if at all. Any perception by our customers or partners that our voice and mobile advertising-based products are incomplete or not of sufficient quality could lead to a loss in confidence by our customers or partners, which in turn could lead to a decline in revenues. If we are unable to continue maintaining, advancing and improving our voice and mobile advertising-based products, our operating results may be adversely affected.

 

Our business strategy is evolving and may involve pursuing new lines of business or strategic transactions and investments, some of which may not be successful.

Our industry is undergoing significant change and our business strategy is continuing to evolve to meet these changes. In order to profitably grow our business, we may need to expand into new lines of business beyond our current focus of providing mobile advertising analytics products and services, which may involve pursuing strategic transactions, including potential acquisitions of, or investments in, related or unrelated businesses. In addition, we may seek divestitures of existing businesses or assets. There can be no assurance that we will be successful with our efforts to evolve our business strategy and we could suffer significant losses as a result, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our acquisitions could divert management’s attention, cause ownership dilution to our stockholders, cause our earnings to decrease and be difficult to integrate.

Our business strategy includes identifying, structuring, completing and integrating acquisitions. Acquisitions involve a high degree of risk. We may also be unable to find a sufficient number of attractive opportunities to meet our objectives which include revenue growth, profitability and competitive market share. Our acquired companies may have histories of net losses and may expect net losses for the foreseeable future. Acquisitions are accompanied by a number of risks that could harm our business, operating results and financial condition:

 

We could experience a substantial strain on our resources, including time and money, and we may not be successful;

 

Our management’s attention could be diverted from our ongoing business concerns;

 

We may seek to enter new markets where we have no or limited experience or where competitors may have stronger market positions;

 

While integrating new companies, we may lose key executives or other employees of these companies;

 

We may issue shares of our Class B common stock as consideration for acquisitions which may result in ownership dilution to our stockholders;

 

We could fail to successfully integrate our financial and management controls, technology, reporting systems and procedures, or adequately expand, train and manage our workforce;

 

We could experience customer dissatisfaction or performance problems with an acquired company or technology;

 

We could become subject to unknown or underestimated liabilities of an acquired entity or incur unexpected expenses or losses from such acquisitions, including litigation;

 

We could incur possible impairment charges related to goodwill or other intangible assets resulting from acquisitions or other unanticipated events or circumstances, any of which could harm our business; and

 

We may be exposed to investigations and/or audits by federal, state or other taxing authorities.

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Consequently, we might not be successful in integrating any acquired businesses, products or technologies, and might not achieve anticipated revenue and cost benefits.

 

We may decide to dispose of assets or business that may no longer help us meet our objectives.  

If we decide to sell assets or a business, we may encounter difficulty in finding buyers or alternative exit strategies on acceptable terms in a timely manner, which could delay the achievement of our strategic objectives.  We may also dispose of a business at a price or on terms that are less desirable than we had anticipated.  In addition, we may experience greater dis-synergies than expected, and the impact of the divestiture on our revenue may be larger than projected.

Our international operations and any expansion subjects us to additional risks and uncertainties and we may not be successful with our strategy to expand such operations.

We have limited operations, through our international subsidiaries, in other countries. We have international subsidiaries in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.  Any international expansion presents unique challenges and risks. Compliance with complex foreign and U.S. laws and regulations that apply to our international operations increases our cost of doing business in international jurisdictions and could interfere with our ability to offer our products and services to one or more countries or expose us or our employees to fines and penalties. We may also have to offer our products and services in a modified format which may not be as compelling to certain customers, and we are subject to increased foreign currency exchange rate risks and our international operations and any expansion will require additional management attention and resources. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in any international expansion. There are risks inherent in conducting business in international markets, including:

 

the need to localize our products and services to foreign customers’ preferences and customs, including the possibility of storing data locally if customers require;

 

difficulties in managing operations due to language barriers, distance, staffing and cultural differences;

 

application of foreign laws and regulations to us, in particular data and privacy regulations in Europe and other international jurisdictions, which continue to change and impose significantly more liability and product limitations on service providers in our industry;

 

compliance with anti-bribery laws, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Anti-Bribery Act;

 

tariffs and other trade barriers;

 

fluctuations in currency exchange rates;

 

establishing local offices, sales channels, management systems and infrastructures;

 

reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries;

 

changes in foreign political and economic conditions;

 

compliance with the laws of numerous taxing jurisdictions, both foreign and domestic;

 

foreign exchange controls that might prevent us from repatriating cash earned outside the United States;

 

the complexity and potentially adverse tax consequences of U.S. tax laws as they relate to our international operations;

 

increased costs to establish and maintain effective controls at foreign locations; and

 

overall higher costs of doing business internationally.

Our failure to address these risks adequately could materially and adversely affect our business, revenue, results of operations and financial condition.

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We may be subject to intellectual property claims, which could adversely affect our financial condition and ability to use certain critical technologies, divert our resources and management attention from our business operations and create uncertainty about ownership of technology essential to our business.

Our success depends, in part, on our ability to operate without infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. There can be no guarantee that any of our intellectual property will not be challenged by third parties. We may be subject to patent infringement claims or other intellectual property infringement claims, and claims of copyright infringement with respect to certain of our websites that would be costly to defend and could limit our ability to use certain critical technologies. The expansion of our call advertising business increases the potential intellectual property infringement claims we may be subject to, particularly in light of the large number of patents which have been issued (or are pending) in the telecommunications field over the last several decades, both in the U.S. and internationally. Jingle, which we acquired in 2011, was subject to patent infringement claims, which were unsuccessful at trial. We resolved this matter and obtained a license to the patents at issue.

We believe that a consolidation of patent portfolios by major technology companies and independent asset holding companies will increase the chances of aggressive assertions of patent and other intellectual property claims. Within the technology telecommunications and online sectors, among other related sectors, we have witnessed various claim holders and alleged rights holders pursue business strategies devoted to extracting settlements or license fees for a wide range of basic and commonly accepted methods and practices. We may be subject to those intellectual property claims in the ordinary course of our business. Also, our partners and customers may also find that they are subject to similar claims, in which case we may be included in any related process or dispute settlement. Any patent or other intellectual property litigation could negatively impact our business by diverting resources and management attention from other aspects of the business and adding uncertainty as to the ownership of technology, services and property that we view as proprietary and essential to our business. In addition, a successful claim of patent infringement against us and our failure or inability to license the infringed or similar technology on reasonable terms, or at all, could prevent us from using critical technologies which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

We may need additional funding to meet our obligations and to pursue our business strategy. Additional funding may not be available to us and our financial condition could therefore be adversely affected.

We may require additional funding to meet our ongoing obligations and to pursue our business strategy, which may include the selective acquisition of businesses and technologies. In addition, we have incurred and we may incur certain obligations in the future. There can be no assurance that, if we were to need additional funds to meet these obligations, additional financing arrangements would be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Furthermore, if adequate additional funds are not available, we will be required to delay, reduce the scope of, or eliminate material parts of the implementation of our business strategy, including potential additional acquisitions or internally-developed businesses.

The loss of our senior management, including other key personnel, could harm our current and future operations and prospects.

We are heavily dependent upon the continued services of members of our senior management team and other key personnel. Each member of our senior management team and other key personnel are at-will employees and may voluntarily terminate his or her employment with us at any time with minimal notice. Following any termination of employment, each of these employees would only be subject to a twelve-month non-competition and non-solicitation obligation with respect to our customers and employees under our standard confidentiality agreement. The loss of the services of any member of our senior management, including other key personnel, for any reason, or any conflict among our senior management or other key personnel, could harm our current and future operations and prospects.

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We have experienced recent turnover in certain senior executives at our Company.  In particular, our chief executive officer resigned, by mutual agreement, from the Company and our executive chairman resigned as a member of the Board of Directors in October 2016. As a result, our Board of Directors has established an Interim Office of the CEO consisting of Michael Arends, Ethan Caldwell, Gary Nafus and Russell C. Horowitz and subject to oversight by our Chairman, Anne Devereux-Mills. We are working on a plan to locate a successor chief executive officer, although we may not be successful in finding or hiring a suitable replacement.  Additional turnover at the senior management level may create instability within the Company and our employees may decide to terminate their employment, which could further impede the maintenance of our day to day operations.  Such instability could impede our ability to implement fully our business plan and growth strategy, which would harm our business and prospects.

We may have difficulty retaining current personnel as well as attracting and retaining additional qualified, experienced, highly skilled personnel, which could adversely affect the implementation of our business plan.

Our performance is largely dependent upon the talents and efforts of highly skilled individuals. In order to fully implement our business plan, we will need to retain our current qualified personnel, as well as attract and retain additional qualified personnel. Thus, our success will, in significant part, depend upon our retention of current personnel as well as the efforts of personnel not yet identified and upon our ability to attract and retain highly skilled managerial, engineering, sales and marketing personnel. We are also dependent on managerial and technical personnel to the extent they may have knowledge or information about our businesses and technical systems that may not be known by our other personnel. There can be no assurance that we will be able to attract and retain necessary personnel. The failure to hire and retain such personnel could adversely affect the implementation of our business plan.

If we are unable to obtain and maintain adequate insurance, our financial condition could be adversely affected in the event of uninsured or inadequately insured loss or damage. Our ability to effectively recruit and retain qualified officers and directors may also be adversely affected if we experience difficulty in maintaining adequate directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.

We may not be able to obtain and maintain insurance policies on terms affordable to us that would adequately insure our business and property against damage, loss or claims by third parties. To the extent our business or property suffers any damages, losses or claims by third parties that are not covered or adequately covered by insurance, our financial condition may be materially adversely affected. We currently have directors’ and officers’ liability insurance. If we are unable to maintain sufficient insurance as a public company to cover liability claims made against our officers and directors, we may not be able to retain or recruit qualified officers and directors to manage our company, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations.

It may be difficult for us to retain or attract qualified officers and directors, which could adversely affect our business and our ability to maintain the listing of our Class B common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.

We may be unable to attract and retain qualified officers, directors and members of board committees required to provide for our effective management as a result of changes in the rules and regulations which govern publicly-held companies, including, but not limited to, certifications from executive officers and requirements for financial experts on boards of directors. The perceived increased personal risk associated with these changes may deter qualified individuals from accepting these roles. Further, applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the NASDAQ Stock Market heighten the requirements for board or committee membership, particularly with respect to an individual’s independence from the corporation and level of experience in finance and accounting matters. We may have difficulty attracting and retaining directors with the requisite qualifications. If we are unable to attract and retain qualified officers and directors, our business and our ability to maintain the listing of our shares of Class B common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market could be adversely affected.

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If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud, which could harm our brand and operating results.

Effective internal controls are necessary for us to provide reliable and accurate financial reports and effectively prevent fraud. We have devoted significant resources and time to comply with the internal control over financial reporting requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. In addition, Section 404 under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires that we assess and our auditors attest to the effectiveness of our controls over financial reporting. Our current and future compliance with the annual internal control report requirement will depend on the effectiveness of our financial reporting and data systems and controls across our operating subsidiaries. We expect these systems and controls to become increasingly complex to the extent that we integrate acquisitions and our business grows. To effectively manage this growth, we will need to continue to improve our operational, financial and management controls and our reporting systems and procedures. We cannot be certain that these measures will ensure that we design, implement and maintain adequate controls over our financial processes and reporting in the future. Any failure to implement required new or improved controls, or difficulties encountered in their implementation or operation, could harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our financial reporting obligations. Inadequate internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our stock and our access to capital.

We may be required to increase or decrease the valuation allowance against our deferred tax assets.

Factors in our ability to realize a tax benefit from our deferred tax assets include tax attributes and operating results of acquired businesses, the nature, extent and periods that temporary differences are expected to reverse and our expectations about future operating results. We regularly review our deferred tax assets to assess whether or not it is more likely than not that the deferred tax assets will be realized, and if necessary, increase or decrease the valuation allowance for portions of such assets to reduce the carrying value. At the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, we recognized a partial valuation allowance of $16.4 million on our federal deferred tax assets which reduced our net deferred assets to $28.5 million. At the end of the second quarter of 2013, our gross deferred tax assets increased by approximately $651,000 due primarily to the 2012 and 2013 research and development credit which was reinstated as part the 2012 American Taxpayer Relief Act signed into law in January 2013. This increase was offset by a corresponding increase in our valuation allowance. We increased the valuation allowance by $22.3 million to record a full valuation allowance against our deferred tax assets as of September 30, 2014 resulting in a corresponding income tax expense of $22.3 million for the third quarter of 2014. As of December 31, 2016, our deferred tax assets were $44.5 million and we have provided a full valuation allowance of $44.5 million as we believe it is not more likely than not that these assets will be realized.

We may experience unforeseen liabilities arising out of third party domain names included in our distribution network, which could negatively impact our financial results.

We display pay-for-call listings on third party domain names and third party websites that are part of our distribution network, which could subject us to a wide variety of civil claims including intellectual property ownership and infringement. The potential violation of third party intellectual property rights and potential causes of action under consumer protection laws may subject us to unforeseen liabilities including injunctions and judgments for money damages.

We may face risks related to litigation that could result in significant legal expenses and settlement or damage awards.

From time to time, we are subject to claims and litigation, which could seriously harm our business and require us to incur significant costs.

We are generally obliged, to the extent permitted by law, to indemnify our current and former directors and officers who are named as defendants in these types of lawsuits. Defending against litigation may require significant attention and resources of management. Regardless of the outcome, such litigation could result in significant legal expenses.

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If we are a party to material litigation and if the defenses we claim are ultimately unsuccessful, or if we are unable to achieve a favorable settlement, we could be liable for large damage awards that could have a material adverse effect on our business and consolidated financial statements.

Risks Relating to Our Business and Our Industry

If we are unable to compete in the highly competitive performance-based advertising and search marketing industries, we may experience reduced demand for our products and services.

We operate in a highly competitive and changing environment. We principally compete with other companies which offer services in the following areas:

 

sales to advertisers of call analytics and call tracking;

 

sales to advertisers of pay-for-call services;

 

delivery of pay-for-call advertising to end users or customers of advertisers through mobile and online destination websites or other offline distribution outlets;

 

services and outsourcing of technologies that allow advertisers to manage their advertising campaigns across multiple networks and track the success of these campaigns;

 

aggregation or optimization of online advertising for distribution through mobile and online search engines and applications, product shopping engines, directories, websites or other offline outlets;

 

provision of local and vertical websites containing information designed to attract users and help consumers make better, more informed local decisions, while providing targeted advertising inventory for advertisers; and

 

local search sales training.

Although we currently pursue a strategy that allows us to potentially partner with all relevant companies in the industry, there are certain companies in the industry that may not wish to partner with us. Despite the fact that we currently work with several of our potential competitors, there are no guarantees that these companies will continue to work with us in the future.

We currently or potentially compete with leading search engines and digital advertising networks such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo!. We also compete with call analytics technology providers such as Twilio, Telemetrics, Invoca, DialogTech and Convirza. As we continue to advance our data analytics technologies, we anticipate facing increased competition from companies providing more broad advertising solutions, such as data management companies like Datalogix. We also face competition on the call supply side, where competing mobile ad companies like xAd look to outbid, partner with or otherwise secure sources of call supply we utilize. Many of these actual or perceived competitors also currently or may in the future have business relationships with us, particularly in distribution. However, such companies may terminate their relationships with us. Furthermore, our competitors may be able to secure agreements with us on more favorable terms, which could reduce the usage of our services, increase the amount payable to our distribution partners, reduce total revenue and thereby have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. We expect competition to intensify in the future because current and new competitors can enter our market with little difficulty. The barriers to entering our market are relatively low. Further, if the consolidation trend continues among the larger media and search engine companies with greater brand recognition, the share of the market remaining for smaller search marketing services providers could decrease, even though the number of smaller providers could continue to increase. These factors could adversely affect our competitive position. Some of our competitors, as well as potential entrants into our market, may be better positioned to succeed in this market. They may have:

 

longer operating histories;

 

more management experience;

 

an employee base with more extensive experience;

 

better geographic coverage;

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larger customer bases;

 

greater brand recognition; and

 

significantly greater financial, marketing and other resources.

Currently, and in the future, as the use of the Internet and other mobile and online services increases, there will likely be larger, more well-established and well-financed entities that acquire companies and/or invest in or form joint ventures in categories or countries of interest to us, all of which could adversely impact our business. Any of these trends could increase competition and reduce the demand for any of our services.

We face competition from traditional media companies, and we may not be included in the advertising budgets of large advertisers, which could harm our operating results.

In addition to digital/online companies, we face competition from companies that offer traditional media advertising opportunities. Most large advertisers have set advertising budgets, a very small portion of which is allocated to mobile or Internet advertising. We expect that large advertisers will continue to focus most of their advertising efforts on traditional media. If we fail to convince these companies to spend a portion of their advertising budgets with us, or if our existing advertisers reduce the amount they spend on our programs, our operating results would be harmed.

If we are not able to respond to the rapid technological change characteristic of our industry, our products and services may cease to be competitive.

The market for our products and services is characterized by rapid change in business models and technological infrastructure, and we will need to constantly adapt to changing markets and technologies to provide new and competitive products and services. If we are unable to ensure that our users, advertisers, reseller partners, and distribution partners have a high-quality experience with our products and services, then they may become dissatisfied and move to competitors’ products and services. Accordingly, our future success will depend, in part, upon our ability to develop and offer competitive products and services for both our target market and for applications in new markets. We may not, however, be able to successfully do so, and our competitors may develop innovations that render our products and services obsolete or uncompetitive.

Our technical systems are vulnerable to interruption and damage that may be costly and time-consuming to resolve and may harm our business and reputation.

A disaster could interrupt our services for an indeterminate length of time and severely damage our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations. Our systems and operations are vulnerable to damage or interruption from:

 

fire;

 

floods;

 

network failure;

 

hardware failure;

 

software failure;

 

power loss;

 

telecommunications failures;

 

break-ins;

 

terrorism, war or sabotage;

 

computer viruses;

 

denial of service attacks;

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penetration of our network by unauthorized computer users and “hackers” and other similar events;

 

natural disasters, including, but not limited to, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes; and

 

other unanticipated problems.

We may not have developed or implemented adequate protections or safeguards to overcome any of these events. We also may not have anticipated or addressed many of the potential events that could threaten or undermine our technology network. Any of these occurrences could cause material interruptions or delays in our business, result in the loss of data or render us unable to provide services to our customers. In addition, if a person is able to circumvent our security measures, he or she could destroy or misappropriate valuable information, including sensitive customer information, or disrupt our operations. We have deployed firewall hardware intended to thwart hacker attacks. Although we maintain property insurance and business interruption insurance, our insurance may not be adequate to compensate us for all losses that may occur as a result of a catastrophic system failure or other loss, and our insurers may not be able or may decline to do so for a variety of reasons. If we fail to address these issues in a timely manner, we may lose the confidence of our advertisers, reseller partners, and distribution partners, our revenue may decline and our business could suffer. In addition, as we expand our service offerings and enter into new business areas, we may be required to significantly modify and expand our software and technology platform. If we fail to accomplish these tasks in a timely manner, our business and reputation will likely suffer. Furthermore, some of these events could disrupt the economy and/or our customers’ business activities and in turn materially affect our operating results.

We rely on third party technology, platforms, carriers, communications providers, and server and hardware providers, and a failure of service by these providers could adversely affect our business and reputation.

We rely upon third party colocation providers to host our main servers. If these providers are unable to handle current or higher volumes of use, experience any interruption in operations or cease operations for any reason or if we are unable to agree on satisfactory terms for continued hosting relationships, we would be forced to enter into a relationship with other service providers or assume hosting responsibilities ourselves. If we are forced to switch hosting facilities, we may not be successful in finding an alternative service provider on acceptable terms or in hosting the computer servers ourselves. We may also be limited in our remedies against these providers in the event of a failure of service. In the past, we have experienced short-term outages in the service maintained by one of our colocation providers.

We also rely on a select group of third party providers for components of our technology platform and support for our call-based and advertising services, such as hardware and software providers, telecommunications carriers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers, credit card processors and domain name registrars. As a result, key operational resources of our business are concentrated with a limited number of third party providers. A failure or limitation of service or available capacity by any of these third party providers could adversely affect our business and reputation. Furthermore, if any of these significant providers are unable to provide the levels of service and dedicated resources over time that we required in our business, we may not be able to replace certain of these providers in a manner that is efficient, cost-effective or satisfactory to our customers, and as a result our business could be materially and adversely affected. Short term or repeat problems with any of these service providers could provide an interruption of service or service quality impairment to significant customers, which could also impact materially our revenue in any period due to credits or potential loss of significant customers.

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If our security measures, including those of our vendors or partners, are breached or are perceived as not being secure, we may lose advertisers, reseller partners and distribution partners and as a result we may incur significant legal and financial exposure and suffer an adverse effect on our business.

We store and transmit data and information about our advertisers, reseller partners, distribution partners and their respective users. We also work with vendors and partners who may come into contact with certain data, such as carriers, colocation and data storage facilities and distribution partners referring callers. We deploy security measures to protect this data and information, as do third parties we utilize to assist in data and information storage. Our security measures and those of the third parties we partner with to assist in data and information storage, as well as to assist in the delivery of services to our advertisers, may suffer breaches. Security breaches of our data storage systems or our third party colocation and technology providers we utilize to store data and information relating to our advertisers, reseller partners, distribution partners and their respective users could expose us to significant potential liability. Similarly, security breaches of our vendors and partners, or ineffective data security by our vendors or partners, may result in similar significant liability. In addition, security breaches, actual or perceived, could result in legal liability, government fines, and the loss of advertisers, reseller partners and distribution partners that could potentially have an adverse effect on our business.

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights, which could result in our competitors marketing competing products and services utilizing our intellectual property and could adversely affect our competitive position.

Our success and ability to compete effectively are substantially dependent upon our internally developed and acquired technology and data resources, which we protect through a combination of copyright, trade secret, and patent and trademark law. To date, we have had issued or have applications pending for the following patents:

 

U.S. Patent Number 7,668,950 entitled “Automatically Updating Performance-Based Online Advertising System and Method” was issued February 23, 2010.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,442,862 entitled “Method and System for Tracking Telephone Calls” was issued on May 14, 2013 and a corresponding divisional Patent Application Number 13/294,436 was filed November 11, 2011. The following divisional applications of Patent Application Number 13/294,436 were also filed: 14/045,536 titled “Method and System for Phone Number Cleaning” was filed November 3, 2013; 14/058,037 titled “Method and System for Collecting Data from Advertising Campaigns Including Phone Number Placement Techniques” was filed November 18, 2013; 14/058,080 titled “Method and System for Monitoring Campaign Referral Sources” was filed October 18, 2013, and 14/065,345 titled “Method and System for Tracking Telephone Calls” was filed October 28, 2013.

 

U.S. Patent Number 6,822,663 entitled “Transform Rule Generator for Web-Based Markup Languages” was issued November 23, 2004.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,583,571 entitled “Facility for Reconciliation of Business Records Using Genetic Algorithms” was issued November 12, 2013.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,433,048 entitled “System and Method to Direct Telephone Calls to Advertisers” was issued April 30, 2013.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,259,915 entitled “System and Method to Analyze Calls to Advertised Telephone Numbers” was issued September 4, 2012 and its continuation Patent Number 8,788,344 was issued July 22, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,630,393 entitled “System and Method for Blocking Telephone Calls” was issued January 14, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Number 7,212,615 entitled “Criteria Based Marketing For Telephone Directory Assistance” was issued May 1, 2007 and owned by Jingle Networks, which we acquired in 2011.

 

U.S. Patent Number 7,702,084 entitled “Toll-Free Directory Assistance With Preferred Advertisement Listing” was issued April 20, 2010.

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U.S. Patent Number 7,961,861 entitled “Telephone Search Supported By Response Location Advertising” was issued June 14, 2011.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,367,846 entitled “Telephone Search Supported By Advertising Based On Past History Of Requests” was issued June 14, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,175,231 entitled “Toll-Free Directory Assistance With Automatic Selection Of An Advertisement From A Category” issued May 8, 2012.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,107,602 entitled “Directory Assistance With Data Processing Station” was issued January 31, 2012.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,929,522 entitled “System and Method to Customize a Connection Interface for Multimodal Connection to a Telephone Number” was issued January 16, 2015.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,634,520 entitled “Call Tracking System Utilizing an Automated Filtering Function” was issued January 21, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,671,020 entitled “Call Tracking System Utilizing a Pooling Algorithm” was issued March 11, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Number 8,687,782 entitled “Call Tracking System Utilizing a Sampling Algorithm” was issued April 1, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Application Number 13/865,966 entitled “Correlated Consumer Telephone Numbers and User Identifiers for Advertising Retargeting” was filed April 18, 2013, claiming priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Number 61/801,893 entitled “Cross-Channel Targeting Using Historical Online and Call Data” filed March 15, 2013, and its continuation Patent Application Number 15/019,826 entitled “Cross-Channel Correlation of Consumer Telephone Numbers and User Identifiers” was filed February 9, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,118,751 entitled “System and Method for Analyzing and Classifying Calls without Transcription” was issued August 25, 2015.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,263,038 entitled “System and Method for Analyzing and Classifying Calls Without Transcription via Keyword Spotting” was issued February 16, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,484,026 entitled “System and Method for Analyzing and Classifying Calls Without Transcription via Keyword Spotting” was issued November 1, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,232,052 entitled “Analyzing Voice Characteristics to Detect Fraudulent Call Activity and Take Corrective Action Without Using Recording, Transcription or Caller ID” was issued January 5, 2016 and its continuation Patent Application Number 14/987,565 was filed January 4, 2016.

 

U.S. Patent Application Number 14/550,089 entitled “Identifying Call Characteristics to Detect Fraudulent Call Activity and Take Corrective Action Without Using Recording, Transcription or Caller ID” was filed November 21, 2014.

 

U.S. Patent Application Number 14/714,141 entitled “Call Analytics for Mobile Advertising” was filed May 15, 2015.

 

U.S. Patent Number 9,485,354 912 entitled “Identifying Call Features and Associations to Detect Call Traffic Pumping and Take Corrective Action” was issued November 1, 2016.

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In the future, additional patent applications may be filed with respect to internally developed or acquired technologies. Our industry is highly competitive and many individuals and companies have sought to patent processes in the industry. We may decide not to protect certain intellectual properties or business methods which may later turn out to be significant to us. In addition, the patent process takes several years and involves considerable expense. Further, patent applications and patent positions in our industry are highly uncertain and involve complex legal and factual questions due in part to the number of competing technologies. As a result, we may not be able to successfully prosecute these patent applications, in whole or in part, or any additional patent filings that we may make in the future. We also depend on our trademarks, trade names and domain names. We may not be able to adequately protect our technology and data resources. In addition, intellectual property laws vary from country to country, and it may be more difficult to protect our intellectual property in some foreign jurisdictions in which we may plan to enter. If we fail to obtain and maintain patent or other intellectual property protection for our technology, our competitors could market competing products and services utilizing our technology.

Despite our efforts to protect our proprietary rights, unauthorized parties domestically and internationally may attempt to copy or otherwise obtain and use our services, technology and other intellectual property. We cannot be certain that the steps we have taken will prevent any misappropriation or confusion among consumers and advertisers. If we are unable to protect our intellectual property rights from unauthorized use, our competitive position could be adversely affected.

We may be involved in lawsuits to protect or enforce our patents, which could be expensive and time consuming.

We may initiate patent litigation against third parties to protect or enforce our patent rights, and we may be sued by others seeking to invalidate our patents or prevent the issuance of future patents. We may also become subject to interference proceedings conducted in the patent and trademark offices of various countries to determine the priority of inventions. The defense and prosecution, if necessary, of intellectual property suits, interference proceedings and related legal and administrative proceedings is costly and may divert our technical and management personnel from their normal responsibilities. We may not prevail in any of these suits. An adverse determination of any litigation or defense proceedings could put our patents at risk of being invalidated or interpreted narrowly and could put our patent applications at risk of not being issued. Furthermore, because of the substantial amount of discovery required in connection with intellectual property litigation, there is a risk that some of our confidential information could be compromised by disclosure during this type of litigation. In addition, during the course of this kind of litigation, there could be public announcements of the results of hearings, motions or other interim proceedings or developments in the litigation. If securities analysts or investors perceive these results to be negative, it could have an adverse effect on the trading price of our Class B common stock.

Our quarterly results of operations might fluctuate due to seasonality, which could adversely affect our growth rate and in turn the market price of our securities.

Our quarterly results have fluctuated in the past and may fluctuate in the future due to seasonal fluctuations in the level of mobile and Internet usage and seasonal purchasing cycles of many advertisers. Our experience has shown that during the spring and summer months, mobile and Internet usage is generally lower than during other times of the year and during the latter part of the fourth quarter of the calendar year we generally experience lower call volume and reduced demand for calls from our call advertising customers. The extent to which usage and call volume may decrease during these off-peak periods is difficult to predict. Prolonged or severe decreases in usage and call volume during these periods may adversely affect our growth rate and results, and in turn, the market price of our securities. Historically, we have seen in the first quarter of the calendar year, this trend generally reversing with increased mobile and internet usage and often new budgets at the beginning of the year for many of our customers with fiscal years ending December 31. However, there can be no assurances such seasonal trends will consistently repeat each year.  The current business environment and our industry has generally both resulted in, and we may continue to see, many advertisers and reseller partners reducing advertising and marketing services budgets or adjusting such budgets throughout the year, changing marketing strategies or agency affiliations, or advertisers being acquired by parent companies with alternative media initiatives, which we expect will impact our quarterly results of operations in addition to the typical seasonality seen in our industry.

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We are susceptible to general economic conditions, and a downturn in advertising and marketing spending by advertisers could adversely affect our operating results.

Our operating results will be subject to fluctuations based on general economic conditions, in particular those conditions that impact advertiser-consumer transactions. Deterioration in economic conditions could cause decreases in or delays in advertising spending and reduce and/or negatively impact our short-term ability to grow our revenues. Further, any decreased collectability of accounts receivable or early termination of agreements due to deterioration in economic conditions could negatively impact our results of operations.

We depend on the growth of mobile technologies, the Internet and the Internet infrastructure for our future growth and any decrease in growth or anticipated growth in mobile and Internet usage could adversely affect our business prospects.

Our future revenue and profits, if any, depend upon the continued widespread use of mobile technologies and the Internet as an effective commercial and business medium. Factors which could reduce the widespread use of mobile technologies (including mobile devices, in particular) and the Internet include:

 

possible disruptions or other damage to the mobile, Internet or telecommunications infrastructure and networks;

 

failure of the individual networking infrastructures of our advertisers, reseller partners, and distribution partners to alleviate potential overloading and delayed response times;

 

a decision by advertisers and consumers to spend more of their marketing dollars on offline programs;

 

increased governmental regulation and taxation; and

 

actual or perceived lack of data security or privacy protection.

In particular, concerns over the security of online transactions and the privacy of users, including the risk of identity theft, may inhibit the growth of Internet usage, including commercial transactions. In order for the mobile and online commerce market to develop successfully, we and other market participants must be able to transmit confidential information, including credit card information, securely over public networks. Any decrease in anticipated mobile and Internet growth and usage could have a material adverse effect on our business prospects.

We are exposed to risks associated with credit card fraud and credit payment, and we may continue to suffer losses as a result of fraudulent data or payment failure by advertisers.

We have suffered losses and may continue to suffer losses as a result of payments made with fraudulent credit card data. Our failure to control fraudulent credit card transactions could reduce our net revenue and gross margin and negatively impact our standing with applicable credit card authorization agencies. In addition, under limited circumstances, we extend credit to advertisers who may default on their accounts payable to us or fraudulently “charge-back” amounts on their credit cards for services that have already been delivered by us.

Regulation of E-Commerce, Online Tracking, Online Data Collection, and Use of the Internet may adversely affect our business and operating results.

Mobile and online search, e-commerce and related businesses face uncertainty related to new or future government regulation at the federal, state, and international levels regarding e-commerce, online tracking, online data collection, and use of the Internet. Due to the rapid growth and widespread use of the Internet, state and federal legislatures (both domestically and abroad) have enacted and may continue to enact various laws and regulations relating to the Internet. Individual states may also enact consumer protection laws that are more restrictive than the ones that already exist.

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Furthermore, the application of existing laws and regulations to companies that engage in e-commerce, or otherwise interact with the Internet remains somewhat unclear. For example, as a result of the actions of advertisers in our network, we may be subject to existing laws and regulations relating to a wide variety of issues such as consumer privacy, gambling, sweepstakes, advertising, promotions, defamation, pricing, taxation, financial market regulation, quality of products and services, computer trespass, spyware, adware, child protection and intellectual property ownership and infringement. In addition, it is not clear whether existing laws that require licenses or permits for certain of our advertisers’ lines of business apply to us, including those related to insurance and securities brokerage, law offices and pharmacies. Existing federal, state, and foreign laws that may affect the growth and profitability of our business include, among others:

 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides protection from copyright liability for online service providers that list or link to third party websites. We currently qualify for the safe harbor under the DMCA; however, if it were determined that we did not meet the safe harbor requirements, we could be exposed to copyright infringement litigation, which could be costly and time-consuming.

 

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) restricts the online collection of personal information about children and the use of that information. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the authority to impose fines and penalties upon website operators and online service providers that do not comply with the law. We do not currently offer any websites or online services “directed to children,” nor do we knowingly collect personal information from children.

 

The Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act requires online service providers to report evidence of violations of federal child pornography laws under certain circumstances.

 

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN SPAM) Act of 2003 establishes requirements for those who send commercial e-mails, spells out penalties for entities that transmit noncompliant commercial e-mail and/or whose products are advertised in noncompliant commercial e-mail and gives consumers the right to opt-out of receiving commercial e-mails. The majority of the states also have adopted similar statutes governing the transmission of commercial e-mail. The FTC and the states, as applicable, are authorized to enforce the CAN-SPAM Act and the state-specific statutes, respectively. CAN-SPAM gives the Department of Justice the authority to enforce its criminal sanctions. Other federal and state agencies can enforce the law against organizations under their jurisdiction, and companies that provide Internet access may sue violators as well.

 

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act prevents private entities from disclosing Internet subscriber records and the contents of electronic communications, subject to certain exceptions.

 

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and other federal and state laws protect computer users from unauthorized computer access/hacking, and other actions by third parties which may be viewed as a violation of privacy. Courts may apply each of these laws in unintended and unexpected ways. As a company that provides services over the Internet as well as call recording and call tracking services, we may be subject to an action brought under any of these or future laws.

 

Among the types of legislation currently being considered at the federal and state levels are consumer laws regulating for the use of certain types of software applications or downloads and the use of “cookies.” These proposed laws are intended to target specific types of software applications often referred to as “spyware,” “invasiveware” or “adware,” and may also cover certain applications currently used in the online advertising industry to serve and distribute advertisements. In addition, the FTC has sought inquiry regarding the implementation of a “do-not-track” requirement. Federal legislation is also expected to be introduced that would regulate “online behavioral advertising” practices. If passed, these laws would impose new obligations for companies that use such software applications or technologies. At least one state already has enacted a law, which went into effect in January 2014, regarding online tracking.

Many Internet services are automated, and companies such as ours may be unknowing conduits for illegal or prohibited materials. It is possible that some courts may impose a strict liability standard or require such companies to monitor their customers’ conduct. Although we would not be responsible or involved in any way in such illegal conduct, it is possible that we would somehow be held responsible for the actions of our advertisers or distribution partners.

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We may also be subject to costs and liabilities with respect to privacy issues. Several companies have incurred penalties for failing to abide by the representations made in their public-facing privacy policies. In addition, several states have passed laws that require businesses to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to protect sensitive personal information and to provide notice to consumers in the event of a security breach. Further, it is anticipated that additional federal and state privacy-related legislation will be enacted. Such legislation could negatively affect our business. In addition, foreign countries may enact laws that could negatively impact our business and/or may prosecute us for violating existing laws. Such laws might include EU member country conforming legislation under applicable EU Privacy, eCommerce, Data Protection Directives (and similar legislation in other countries where we may have operations), and the recently enacted EU General Data Protection Regulation, which is directly applicable to all member states. Any costs incurred in addressing foreign laws could negatively affect the viability of our business. Our exposure to this risk will increase to the extent we expand our operations internationally.

Federal, state, and foreign regulation of telecommunications may adversely affect our business and operating results.

We provide information and analytics services to certain advertisers and reseller partners that may include information services. In connection therewith, we obtain certain telecommunications products and services from carriers in order to deliver these packages of information and analytic services.

Telecommunications laws and regulations (and interpretations thereof) are evolving in response to rapid changes in the telecommunications industry. If our carrier partners were to be subject to any changes in applicable law or regulation (or interpretations thereof), or additional taxes or surcharges, then we in turn may be subject to increased costs for their products and services or receive products and services that may be of less value to our customers, which in turn could adversely affect our business and operating results. Furthermore, our call recording and pay-for-call services may directly subject us to certain telecommunications-related regulations. Finally, in the event that any federal or state regulators were to expand the scope of applicable laws and regulations or their application to include certain end users and information service providers, then our business and operating results could also be adversely affected. The following existing and possible future federal and state laws could impact the growth and profitability of our business:

 

The Communications Act of 1934, as amended by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (the “Act”), and the regulations promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission under Title II of the Act, may impose federal licensing, reporting and other regulatory obligations on the Company. To the extent we contract with and use the networks of voice over IP service providers, new legislation or FCC regulation in this area could restrict our business, prevent us from offering service or increase our cost of doing business. There are an increasing number of regulations and rulings that specifically address access to commerce and communications services on the Internet, including IP telephony. We are unable to predict the impact, if any, that future legislation, legal decisions or regulations concerning voice services offered via the Internet may have on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

 

The U.S. Congress, the FCC, state legislatures or state agencies may target, among other things, access or settlement charges, imposing taxes related to Internet communications, imposing tariffs or other regulations based on encryption concerns, or the characteristics and quality of products and services that we may offer. Any new laws or regulations concerning these or other areas of our business could restrict our growth or increase our cost of doing business.

 

The FCC has initiated a proceeding regarding the regulation of broadband services. The increasing growth of the broadband IP telephony market and popularity of broadband IP telephony products and services heighten the risk that the FCC or other legislative bodies will seek to regulate broadband IP telephony and the Internet. In addition, large, established telecommunication companies may devote substantial lobbying efforts to influence the regulation of the broadband IP telephony market, which may be contrary to our interests.

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There is risk that a regulatory agency will require us to conform to rules that are unsuitable for IP communications technologies or rules that cannot be complied with due to the nature and efficiencies of IP routing, or are unnecessary or unreasonable in light of the manner in which we offer voice-related services such as call recording and pay-for-call services to our customers.

 

Federal and state telemarketing laws including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Telemarketing Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

 

Laws affecting telephone call recording and data protection, such as consent and personal data statutes. Under the federal Wiretap Act, at least one party taking part in a call must be notified if the call is being recorded. Under this law, and most state laws, there is nothing illegal about one of the parties to a telephone call recording the conversation. However, several states (i.e., California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington) require that all parties consent when one party wants to record a telephone conversation. The telephone recording laws in other states, like federal law, require only one party to be aware of the recording. A Wiretap Act violation is a Class D felony; the maximum authorized penalties for a violation of section 2511(1) of the Wiretap Act are imprisonment of not more than five years and a fine under Title 18. Authorized fines are typically not more than $250,000 for individuals or $500,000 for an organization, unless there is a substantial loss. State laws impose similar penalties.

 

The Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act may require that we undertake material modifications to our platforms and processes to permit wiretapping and other access for law enforcement personnel.

 

Under various Orders of the Federal Communications Commission, we may be required to make material retroactive and prospective contributions to funds intended to support Universal Service, Telecommunications Relay Service, Local Number Portability, the North American Numbering Plan and the budget of the Federal Communications Commission.

 

Laws in most states of the United States of America may require registration or licensing of one or more of our subsidiaries, and may impose additional taxes, fees or telecommunications surcharges on the provision of our services which we may not be able to pass through to customers.

 

Our international operations may expose us to telecommunications regulations in the countries where we are operating and these regulations could negatively affect the viability of our business in those regions.

State and local governments may in the future be permitted to levy additional taxes on Internet access and electronic commerce transactions, which could result in a decrease in the level of usage of our services. In addition, we may be required to pay additional income, sales, or other taxes.

The federal government has placed a ban for now on state and local governments’ imposition of new taxes on Internet access or electronic commerce transactions through the Internet Tax Freedom Act. The proposed Marketplace Fairness Act, if enacted into law, would allow states to require online and other out of state merchants to collect and remit sales and use tax on products and services that they may sell. An increase in taxes may make electronic commerce transactions less attractive for advertisers and businesses, which could result in a decrease in the level of usage of our services. Additionally, from time to time, various state, federal and other jurisdictional tax authorities undertake reviews of us and our filings. In evaluating the exposure associated with various tax filing positions, we may on occasion accrue charges for probable exposures. We cannot predict the outcome of any of these reviews.

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Risks Relating to Ownership of our Class B common stock

Our Class B common stock prices have been and are likely to continue to be highly volatile.

The trading prices of our Class B common stock have been and are likely to continue to be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations and has more recently declined significantly. Our stock prices may fluctuate in response to a number of events and factors, which may be the result of our business strategy or events beyond our control, including:

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results;

 

developments concerning proprietary rights, including patents, by us or a competitor;

 

announcements by us or our competitors of significant contracts, acquisitions, financings, commercial relationships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

 

loss of senior management or other key personnel;

 

registration of additional shares of Class B common stock in connection with acquisitions;

 

lawsuits initiated against us or lawsuits initiated by us;

 

announcements of acquisitions or technical innovations;

 

potential loss or reduced contributions from distribution partners, reseller partners and agencies, or advertisers;

 

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of technology companies in general and of companies in the digital advertising industry in particular;

 

changes in growth or earnings estimates or recommendations by analysts;

 

changes in the market valuations of similar companies;

 

changes in our industry and the overall economic environment;

 

volume of shares of Class B common stock available for public sale, including upon conversion of Class A common stock or upon exercise of stock options;

 

Class B common stock repurchases under our share repurchase program;

 

sales and purchases of stock by us or by our stockholders, including sales by certain of our executive officers and directors pursuant to written pre-determined selling and purchase plans under Rule 10b5-1 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”);

 

short sales, hedging and other derivative transactions on shares of our Class B common stock; and

 

an adverse impact on us from any of the other risks cited n this Risk Factors section.

In addition, the stock market in general, and the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the market for mobile and online commerce companies in particular, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the listed companies. These broad market and industry factors may seriously harm the market price of our Class B common stock, regardless of our operating performance. In the past, following periods of volatility in the market, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against these companies.

Litigation against us, whether or not judgment is entered against us, could result in substantial costs and potentially economic loss, and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources, any of which could seriously harm our financial condition. Additionally, there can be no assurance that an active trading market of our Class B common stock will be sustained.

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If securities analysts do not continue to publish research or publish negative research about our business, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our Class B common stock depends in part on the research and reports that securities analysts publish about us or our business. If one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our stock or publishes negative research about our business, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of our company or fails to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the market for our stock and demand for our stock could decrease, which could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline.

Our founders control the outcome of stockholder voting, and there may be an adverse effect on the price of our Class B common stock due to the disparate voting rights of our Class A common stock and our Class B common stock.

As of December 31, 2016, Russell C. Horowitz and Ethan A. Caldwell, two of our founders, beneficially owned 100% of the outstanding shares of our Class A common stock, which shares represented 77% of the combined voting power of all outstanding shares of our capital stock. These founders together controlled 77% of the combined voting power of all outstanding shares of our capital stock as of December 31, 2016. The holders of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock have identical rights except that the holders of our Class B common stock are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of our Class A common stock are entitled to twenty-five votes per share on all matters to be voted on by stockholders. This concentration of control could be disadvantageous to our other stockholders with interests different from those of these founders. This difference in the voting rights of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock could adversely affect the price of our Class B common stock to the extent that investors or any potential future purchaser of our shares of Class B common stock give greater value to the superior voting rights of our Class A common stock. Further, as long as these founders have a controlling interest, they will continue to be able to elect all or a majority of our board of directors and generally be able to determine the outcome of all corporate actions requiring stockholder approval. As a result, these founders will be in a position to continue to control all fundamental matters affecting our company, including any merger involving, sale of substantially all of the assets of, or change in control of, our company. The ability of these founders to control our company may result in our Class B common stock trading at a price lower than the price at which such stock would trade if these founders did not have a controlling interest in us. This control may deter or prevent a third party from acquiring us which could adversely affect the market price of our Class B common stock.

Anti-takeover provisions may limit the ability of another party to acquire us, which could cause our stock price to decline.

Our certificate of incorporation, as amended, our by-laws and Delaware law contain provisions that could discourage, delay or prevent a third party from acquiring us, even if doing so may be beneficial to our stockholders. In addition, these provisions could limit the price investors would be willing to pay in the future for shares of our Class B common stock. The following are examples of such provisions in our certificate of incorporation, as amended, or our by-laws:

 

the authorized number of our directors can be changed only by a resolution of our board of directors;

 

advance notice is required for proposals that can be acted upon at stockholder meetings;

 

there are limitations on who may call stockholder meetings; and

 

our board of directors is authorized, without prior stockholder approval, to create and issue “blank check” preferred stock.

We are also subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, which provides, subject to enumerated exceptions, that if a person acquires 15% or more of our voting stock, the person is an “interested stockholder” and may not engage in “business combinations” with us for a period of three years from the time the person acquired 15% or more of our voting stock. The application of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law could have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of our company.

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We may not pay dividends on our Class B common stock in the future which could impair the value of such stock.

Under Delaware law, dividends to stockholders may be made only from the surplus of a company, or, in certain situations, from the net profits for the current fiscal year or the fiscal year before which the dividend is declared. We initiated and paid a quarterly dividend on our Class B common stock from November 2006 through May 2015. Our ability to pay dividends in the future will depend on our financial results, liquidity and financial condition. We currently do not anticipate declaring or paying dividends in the foreseeable future.

ITEM  1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.

None.

ITEM 2.

PROPERTIES.

Our headquarters are located in Seattle, Washington and consist of approximately 61,000 square feet of leased office space. We lease additional office space in San Francisco, California, and New York, New York. Our information technology systems are hosted and maintained in third party facilities under collocation services agreements. See Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the caption “Information Technology and Systems.”

We believe that our existing facilities, together with additional space we believe we can lease at reasonable market rates, are adequate for our near-term business needs.

ITEM  3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

We are not a party to any material legal proceedings. From time to time, however, we may be subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of business, including claims of alleged infringement of intellectual property rights, and a variety of claims arising in connection with our products and services.

ITEM  4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

Not Applicable.

40


PART II

ITEM  5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.

Market Information

Our Class B common stock has been traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “MCHX” since March 31, 2004 when we completed our initial public offering at a price of $6.50 per share. Prior to that time, there was no public market for our Class B common stock. The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the high and low closing sales prices for Marchex’s Class B common stock as reported on the NASDAQ Global Select Market:

 

 

 

High

 

 

Low

 

Year ended December 31, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

 

$

4.75

 

 

$

3.81

 

Second Quarter

 

$

5.21

 

 

$

3.92

 

Third Quarter

 

$

4.93

 

 

$

3.65

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

4.60

 

 

$

3.64

 

Year ended December 31, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter

 

$

4.63

 

 

$

3.45

 

Second Quarter

 

$

4.47

 

 

$

3.10

 

Third Quarter

 

$

3.39

 

 

$

2.74

 

Fourth Quarter

 

$

2.87

 

 

$

2.48

 

 

Holders

As of March 6, 2017, there were 43,100,399 shares of common stock outstanding that were held by 42 stockholders of record. Of these shares:

 

5,056,136 shares were issued as Class A common stock, and as of this date were held by 2 stockholders of record; and

 

38,044,263 shares were issued as Class B common stock, and as of this date were held by 42 stockholders of record.

Dividends

In 2014 and the first half of 2015, our board of directors declared quarterly dividends in the amount of $0.02 per share on our Class A and Class B common stock in each of the quarters, totaling $3.3 million and $1.7 million for those years, respectively. We discontinued paying dividends on our common stock after the second quarter of 2015, and we do not anticipate declaring or paying dividends in the foreseeable future.

41


Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

During the fourth quarter of 2016, share repurchase activity was as follows:

 

Period

 

Total number of

shares

purchased

 

 

Average

price paid

per share

 

 

Total number

of shares

purchased as

part of

publicly

announced

plans or

programs

 

 

Maximum

number of

shares (or approximate

dollar value)

that may yet

be

purchased

under the

plans or

programs (1)

 

Class B Common Shares:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1—October 31, 2016 (2), (3)

 

 

295,767

 

 

$

0.49

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,319,128

 

November 1—November 30, 2016

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,319,128

 

December 1—December 31, 2016

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,319,128

 

Total Class B Common Shares

 

 

295,767

 

 

$

0.49

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,319,128

 

 

(1)

In November 2014, we established a 2014 share repurchase program, which supersedes and replaces any prior repurchase programs, and authorized the Company to repurchase up to 3 million shares in the aggregate of the Company’s Class B common stock. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors including price, corporate and regulatory requirements, capital availability, and other market conditions.

(2)

Includes shares of restricted equity subject to vesting, which were issued to certain employees. We repurchased 243,750 shares which were not already vested for $0.01 per share upon termination of employment.

(3)

Includes 52,017 shares of Class B common stock, which were repurchased to satisfy certain employees’ minimum tax withholding obligations in connection with the vesting of restricted stock awards and were based on the fair market value on the vesting date.

42


Stock Performance Graph

This performance graph shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of Marchex under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended or the Exchange Act.

The following graph shows a comparison from December 31, 2011 through December 31, 2016 of cumulative total return for our Class B common stock, the NASDAQ Composite Index (the “NASDAQ Composite Index”) and the RDG Internet Composite Index (the “RDG Index”). Measurement points are the last trading day of each of our fiscal years ended December 31, 2011 through 2016. The graph assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2011 in our Class B common stock, the NASDAQ Composite Index and the RDG Internet Composite Index and assumes reinvestment of any dividends. Such returns are based on historical results and are not intended to suggest future performance.

 

 

 

 

12/31/11

 

 

12/31/12

 

 

12/31/13

 

 

12/31/14

 

 

12/31/15

 

 

12/31/16

 

Marchex, Inc.

 

$

100

 

 

$

70.03

 

 

$

147.40

 

 

$

79.11

 

 

$

67.70

 

 

$

46.12

 

NASDAQ Composite Index

 

$

100

 

 

$

116.41

 

 

$

165.47

 

 

$

188.69

 

 

$

200.32

 

 

$

216.54

 

RDG Internet Composite Index

 

$

100

 

 

$

119.34

 

 

$

195.83

 

 

$

192.42

 

 

$

264.96

 

 

$

277.56

 

 

43


ITEM 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.

The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes appearing elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

The consolidated financial data for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2013 is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements which are not included in this Form 10-K.

The consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016, and the consolidated balance sheet data at December 31, 2015 and 2016, are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Form 10-K.

The historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected in any future period.

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data (in thousands except per share amounts):

 

 

 

Year ended December 31,

 

 

 

2012 (1)

 

 

2013

 

 

2014 (2)

 

 

2015 (2)

 

 

2016 (2)

 

Revenue

 

$

129,309

 

 

$

147,837

 

 

$

173,601

 

 

$

143,013

 

 

$

129,547

 

Loss from operations

 

$

(14,061

)

 

$

(2,102

)

 

$

(222

)

 

$

(507

)

 

$

(83,897

)

Loss from continuing operations

 

$

(29,845

)

 

$

(2,162

)

 

$

(22,793

)

 

$

(597

)

 

$

(84,066

)

Discontinued operations, net of tax

 

$

(5,352

)

 

$

3,979

 

 

$

3,703

 

 

$

27,318

 

 

$

 

Net income (loss)

 

$

(35,196

)

 

$

1,817

 

 

$

(19,090

)

 

$

26,721

 

 

$

(84,066

)

Net income (loss) applicable to common

   stockholders

 

$

(35,853

)

 

$

1,817

 

 

$

(19,217

)

 

$

26,684

 

 

$

(84,066

)

Basic and diluted net income (loss) per Class A

   share applicable to common stockholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing operations applicable to common

   stockholders

 

$

(0.90

)

 

$

(0.06

)

 

$

(0.57

)

 

$

(0.01

)

 

$

(2.01

)

Discontinued operations, net of tax

 

$

(0.16

)

 

$

0.11

 

 

$

0.09

 

 

$

0.66

 

 

$

 

Net income (loss) per Class A share applicable

   to common stockholders

 

$

(1.06

)

 

$

0.05

 

 

$

(0.48

)

 

$

0.65

 

 

$

(2.01

)

Basic and diluted net income (loss) per Class B

   share applicable to common stockholders:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing operations applicable to common

   stockholders

 

$

(0.89

)

 

$

(0.06

)

 

$

(0.57

)

 

$

(0.01

)

 

$

(2.01

)

Discontinued operations, net of tax

 

$

(0.16

)

 

$

0.11

 

 

$

0.09

 

 

$

0.66

 

 

$

 

Net income (loss) per Class B share applicable

   to common stockholders

 

$

(1.05

)

 

$

0.05

 

 

$

(0.48

)

 

$

0.65

 

 

$

(2.01

)

Shares used to calculate basic net income (loss) per

   share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A

 

 

9,574

 

 

 

8,816

 

 

 

5,853

 

 

 

5,233

 

 

 

5,190

 

Class B

 

 

24,412

 

 

 

26,798

 

 

 

34,157

 

 

 

35,935

 

 

 

36,550

 

Shares used to calculate diluted net income (loss)

   per share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class A

 

 

9,574

 

 

 

8,816

 

 

 

5,853

 

 

 

5,233

 

 

 

5,190

 

Class B

 

 

33,986

 

 

 

35,614

 

 

 

40,010

 

 

 

41,168

 

 

 

41,740

 

 

 

(1)

During 2012, we recorded a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of $16.7 million related to our Archeo segment and a non-cash charge to income tax expense of $16.4 million to establish a valuation allowance on certain deferred tax assets.  

 

(2)

See Notes 5, 8, and 10 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for information with respect to income taxes, goodwill, and discontinued operations, respectively, for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

 

44


Consolidated Balance Sheet Data (in thousands), except per share data:

 

 

 

December 31,

 

 

 

2012

 

 

2013

 

 

2014

 

 

2015

 

 

2016

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

15,930

 

 

$

30,912

 

 

$

80,032

 

 

$

109,155

 

 

$

103,950

 

Working capital

 

$

21,683

 

 

$

39,675

 

 

$

85,849

 

 

$

118,823

 

 

$

109,634

 

Total assets

 

$

149,147

 

 

$

162,148

 

 

$

180,669

 

 

$

204,992

 

 

$

128,272

 

Other non-current liabilities

 

$

2,216

 

 

$

2,095

 

 

$

1,118

 

 

$

662

 

 

$

134

 

Total liabilities

 

$

26,212

 

 

$

27,393

 

 

$

24,516

 

 

$

17,526

 

 

$

15,001

 

Total stockholders’ equity

 

$

122,935

 

 

$

134,755

 

 

$

156,153

 

 

$

187,466

 

 

$

113,271

 

Cash dividends declared per common share

 

$

0.25

 

 

$

 

 

$

0.08

 

 

$

0.04

 

 

$

 

 

45


ITEM 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements and the notes to those statements which appear elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements. Please see page 1 on this Annual Report on Form 10-K “Forward-Looking Statements” and Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K under the caption “Risk Factors” for a discussion of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions associated with these statements.

Overview

Marchex is a mobile advertising analytics company. We power global brands to understand the consumer journey by connecting online behavior to real-world, offline actions.

We provide products and services for enterprises that depend on consumer phone calls to drive sales. Our media analytics products can provide actionable intelligence on the major media channels advertisers use to acquire customers over the phone.

Our primary product offerings are:

 

Marchex Call Analytics. Marchex Call Analytics is an analytics platform for enterprises that depend on inbound phone calls to drive sales, appointments and reservations. Marketers can use this platform to understand which marketing channels, advertisements, keywords and advertising are driving calls to their business, allowing them to optimize their advertising expenditures across media channels. Marchex Call Analytics also includes technology that can extract data and insights about what is happening during a call and measures the outcome of calls and return on investment. The platform also includes technology that blocks robocalls, telemarketers and spam calls to save businesses time. Marchex Call Analytics data can integrate directly into third-party marketer workflows such as Salesforce, Eloqua, Adobe, Kenshoo, DoubleClick Search, Marin Software, and in 2017 Facebook and Instagram, in addition to other marketing dashboards and tools. Advertisers pay us a fee for each call or call related data element they receive from calls including call-based ads we distribute through our sources of call distribution or for each phone number tracked based on pre-negotiated rates.

 

Marchex Search Analytics. Marchex Search Analytics is a product for search marketers that drive phone calls from search campaigns. Marchex Search Analytics attributes inbound phone calls made directly from paid search ads and landing pages to a keyword. The platform can deliver this data as well as data about call outcomes directly into search management platforms like DoubleClick Search and Kenshoo. According to a June 2015 BIA Kelsey report, phone calls from search to businesses from smartphones will reach over 40 billion and the number of mobile searches will exceed desktop searches in 2016.

 

Marchex Display and Video Analytics. Marchex Display and Video Analytics is a product for marketers that buy digital display advertising. Marchex Display and Video Analytics can measure the influence that display advertising has on inbound phone calls so that marketers can better attribute their return on advertising spend for inbound phone calls and delivers this data to marketers in a reporting dashboard. According to a January 2017 eMarketer report, US display advertising spend is expected to reach over $40 billion in 2017.

 

Marchex Social Analytics. Launched in 2017, Marchex Social Analytics is a product for marketers that buy social media advertising. Marchex Social Analytics can measure the influence that social advertising from select sources like Facebook or Instagram has on inbound phone calls so that marketers can better attribute their return on advertising spend for inbound phone calls and delivers this data to marketers in a reporting dashboard. According to a December 2016 Zenith Media report, global social media is forecasted to grow 72% between 2016 and 2019, rising from $29 billion to $50 billion.

46


 

Marchex Call Marketplace. Marchex Call Marketplace is a mobile advertising network for businesses that depend on inbound phone calls to drive sales. We offer advertisers ad placements across numerous mobile and online media sources to deliver qualified calls to their businesses. It leverages analytics for tracking, reporting and optimization. Advertisers are charged on a pay-per-call or cost per action basis.

 

Local Leads. Our local leads platform is a white-labeled, full service advertising solution for small business resellers, such as Yellow Pages providers and vertical marketing service providers, to sell call advertising, search marketing and other lead generation products through their existing sales channels to their small business advertisers. These calls and leads are then fulfilled by us across our distribution network, including mobile sources, and search engines. The lead services we offer to small business advertisers through our local leads platform include pay-for-call, search marketing and ad creation and include advanced features such as call tracking, geo-targeting, campaign management, reporting and analytics. The local leads platform is highly scalable and has the capacity to support hundreds of thousands of advertiser accounts. Reseller partners and publishers generally pay us account fees and agency fees for our products in the form of a percentage of the cost of every click or call delivered to their advertisers. Through our primary contract with Yellowpages.com LLC (“YP”), we generate revenues from our local leads platform. We also have a separate pay-for-call services arrangement with YP. In 2016, we extended these agreements through December 31, 2018. The primary local leads platform arrangement provides YP additional flexibility to migrate active accounts to itself or a third-party provider prior to the end of an advertiser contract and provides YP with certain termination rights beginning January 1, 2018 upon four months prior notice. YP is our largest reseller partner and was responsible for 25%, 29% and 23% of our total revenues in the years ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively. We also have a separate distribution partner agreement with YP.

We were incorporated in Delaware on January 17, 2003. Acquisition initiatives have played an important part in our corporate history to date.

We have offices in Seattle, Washington; New York, New York; and San Francisco, California.

On October 3, 2016, by mutual agreement, Peter Christothoulou resigned as our Chief Executive Officer. In addition, Clark Kokich resigned as Executive Chairman of our Board of Directors (the “Board”) and as a member of the Board on October 1, 2016.  Effective on October 3, 2016, the Board established an Interim Office of the CEO subject to oversight by Anne Devereux-Mills as Chairman. The Interim Office of the CEO consists of Michael Arends, Ethan Caldwell, Gary Nafus, and Russell C. Horowitz who is currently a consultant to Marchex and previously Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. The Interim Office of the CEO will perform the duties and responsibilities of the chief executive officer on an interim basis while a search for a permanent chief executive officer is conducted. 

Consolidated Statements of Operations

All significant inter-company transactions and balances within Marchex have been eliminated in consolidation. Our purchase accounting resulted in all assets and liabilities from our acquisitions being recorded at their estimated fair values on the respective acquisition dates. All goodwill, intangible assets, and liabilities resulting from the acquisitions have been recorded in our consolidated financial statements.

We primarily generate our revenues from our Call-driven products and services. Call-driven revenue consists of payments from advertisers for use of our call analytics technology and pay-for-call advertising services. Call-driven revenue also consists of payments from our reseller partners for use of our local leads platform and marketing services, which they offer to their small business customers, as well as payments from advertisers for cost-per-action services. Prior to 2016, we also generated revenue from our Archeo operations, which included revenue generated from our click based advertising and Internet domain operations. In April 2015, we sold certain assets related to Archeo’s domain operations, including the bulk of its domain name portfolio. The operating results related to this April 2015 disposition are shown as discontinued operations in the consolidated statements of operations. In December 2015, we sold the remaining Archeo operations which did not meet the criteria for discontinued operations, and as a result the operating results are reflected in continuing operations in 2015. See Note 9. Segment Reporting and Geographic Information for revenue detail by segment and geographical area and Note 10. Discontinued Operations, Dispositions, and Other of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for further discussion on the Archeo dispositions.

47


Presentation of Financial Reporting Periods

The comparative periods presented are for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Revenue

We generate revenue through our call advertising services, which includes our call analytics and call marketplace services, and our local leads platform. Historically, we also generated revenue through pay-per-click advertising services.

Our performance-based advertising services, which include call advertising, cost-per-action services, and pay-per-click services, amounted to greater than 80% of revenues in all periods presented. In addition, we generate revenue through our local leads platform, which enables partner resellers to sell call advertising and/or search marketing products, and campaign management services. These secondary sources accounted for less than 20% of our revenues in all periods presented. We have no barter transactions.

We recognize revenue upon the completion of our performance obligation, provided that: (1) evidence of an arrangement exists; (2) the arrangement fee is fixed and determinable; and (3) collection is reasonably assured.

In certain cases, we record revenue based on available and reported preliminary information from third parties. Collection on the related receivables may vary from reported information based upon third party refinement of the estimated and reported amounts owed that occurs subsequent to period ends.

Performance-Based Advertising and Other Services

Our call analytics technology platform provides data and insights that can measure the performance of mobile, online and offline advertising for advertisers and small business resellers. We generate revenue from our call analytics technology platform when advertisers pay us a fee for each call or call related data element they receive from calls including call-based ads we distribute through our sources of call distribution or for each phone number tracked based on a pre-negotiated rate.

Our call marketplace offers advertisers and adverting service providers’ ad placements across our distribution network. Advertisers or advertising service providers are charged on a pay-per-call or cost-per-action basis. We generate revenue upon delivery of qualified and reported phone calls to advertisers or advertising service providers’ listings. These advertisers and advertising service providers pay us a designated transaction fee for each qualified phone call, which occurs when a user makes a phone call, clicks, or completes a specified action on any of their advertisement listings after it has been placed by us or by our distribution partners. Each qualified phone call or specified action on an advertisement listing represents a completed transaction. We also generate revenue from cost-per-action services, which occurs when a user makes a phone call from our advertiser’s listing or is redirected from one of our web sites or a third party web site in our distribution network to an advertiser web site and completes the specified action.

Our Local Leads platform allows reseller partners to sell call advertising, search marketing, and other lead generation products through their existing sales channels to small business advertisers. We generate revenue from reseller partners utilizing our local leads platform and are paid account fees and also agency fees for our products in the form of a percentage of the cost of every call or click delivered to advertisers. The reseller partners engage the advertisers and are the primary obligor, and we, in certain instances, are only financially liable to the publishers in our capacity as a collection agency for the amount collected from the advertisers. We recognize revenue for these fees under the net revenue recognition method. In limited arrangements resellers pay us a fee for fulfilling an advertiser’s campaign in our distribution network and we act as the primary obligor. We recognize revenue for these fees under the gross revenue recognition method.

48


Industry and Market Factors

We enter into agreements with various mobile, online and offline distribution partners to provide distribution for pay-for-call advertisement listings which contain call tracking numbers and/or URL strings of our advertisers. We generally pay distribution partners based on a percentage of revenue or a fixed amount for each phone call on these listings. The level of phone calls contributed by our distribution partners has varied, and we expect it will continue to vary, from quarter to quarter and year to year, sometimes significantly. If we do not add new distribution partners or renew our existing distribution partner agreements and on terms as favorable as current arrangements, replace traffic lost from terminated distribution agreements with other sources, or if our distribution partners’ businesses do not grow or are adversely affected, our revenue and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. Our ability to grow will be impacted by our ability to increase our distribution, which impacts the number of mobile and Internet users who have access to our advertisers’ listings and the rate at which our advertisers are able to convert calls from these mobile and Internet users into completed transactions, such as a purchase or sign up. Our ability to grow also depends on our ability to continue to increase the number of advertisers who use our products and services, the amount these advertisers spend on our products and services, advertiser adoption of new products and services and the amount these advertisers are willing to pay for these new products and services.

We utilize phone numbers as part of our call analytics and pay-for-call services to advertisers, which enables advertisers and other users of our services to help measure the effectiveness of mobile, online, and offline advertising campaigns. If we are not able to secure or retain sufficient phone numbers needed for our services or we are limited in the number of available telecommunication carriers or vendors to provide such phone numbers to us in the event of any industry consolidation or if telecommunication carriers or vendors were to experience system disruptions, our revenue and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We have revenue concentrations with certain large customers. Many of these customers are not subject to long term contracts with us or have contracts with near term expiration dates, and are able to reduce or cease advertising spend at any time and for any reason. In some cases, we engage with advertisers through advertising agencies, who act on behalf of the advertisers. Advertising agencies may place insertion orders with us for particular advertising campaigns for a set period of time and are not obligated to commit beyond the campaign governed by a particular insertion order and may also cancel the campaign prior to completion. Advertising agencies also have relationships with many different providers, each of whom may be running portions of the advertising campaign.  If any of our largest customers are acquired, such acquisition may impact its advertising spending or budget with us, including due to rebranding, change in advertising agency, or change in media tactics.  A significant reduction in advertising spending or budgets by our largest customers, or the loss of one or more of these customers, if not replaced by new customers or an increase in business from existing customers, would have a material adverse effect on our future operating results.

We anticipate that these variables will fluctuate in the future, affecting our ability to grow and our financial results. In particular, it is difficult to project phone call usage, the number of phone calls or other actions performed by users of our products and services, which will be delivered to our advertisers, and how much advertisers will spend with us and the amount they are willing to pay for our products and services. It is even more difficult to anticipate the average revenue per phone call or other performance-based actions. It is also difficult to anticipate the impact of worldwide economic conditions on advertising budgets.

49


In addition, we believe we will experience seasonality. Our quarterly results have fluctuated in the past and may fluctuate in the future due to seasonal fluctuations in levels of mobile and internet usage and seasonal purchasing cycles of many advertisers. Our experience has shown that during the spring and summer months, mobile and Internet usage is lower than during other times of the year and during the latter part of the fourth quarter of the calendar year we generally experience lower call volume and reduced demand for calls from our call advertising customers. The extent to which usage and call volume may decrease during these off-peak periods is difficult to predict. Prolonged or severe decreases in usage and call volume during these periods may adversely affect our growth rate and results and in turn the market price of our securities. Historically, we have seen in the first quarter of the calendar year, this trend generally reversing with increased mobile and internet usage and often new budgets at the beginning of the year for many of our customers with fiscal years ending December 31. However, there can be no assurances such seasonal trends will consistently repeat each year.  The current business environment and our industry has generally both resulted in, and we may continue to see, many advertisers and reseller partners reducing advertising and marketing services budgets or adjusting such budgets throughout the year, changing marketing strategies or agency affiliations, or advertisers being acquired by parent companies with alternative media initiatives, which we expect will impact our quarterly results of operations in addition to the typical seasonality seen in our industry.

We believe that our future revenue growth will depend on, among other factors, our ability to attract new advertisers, compete effectively, maximize our sales efforts, demonstrate a positive return on investment for advertisers, successfully improve existing products and services, develop successful new products and services, and expand internationally. If we are unable to generate adequate revenue growth and to manage our expenses, we may continue to incur significant losses in the future and may not be able to achieve or maintain profitability.

Service Costs

Our service costs represent the cost of providing our performance-based advertising services and our search marketing services. The service costs that we have incurred in the periods presented primarily include:

 

user acquisition costs;

 

amortization of intangible assets;

 

license and content fees;

 

credit card processing fees;

 

network operations;

 

serving our search results;

 

telecommunication costs, including the use of phone numbers relating to our call products and services;

 

maintaining our websites;

 

domain name registration renewal fees;

 

domain name costs;

 

network fees;

 

fees paid to outside service providers;

 

delivering customer service;

 

depreciation of our websites, network equipment and software;

 

colocation service charges of our network website equipment;

 

bandwidth and software license fees;

 

payroll and related expenses of related personnel; and

 

stock-based compensation of related personnel.

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User Acquisition Costs

For the periods presented the largest component of our service costs consists of user acquisition costs that relate primarily to payments made to distribution partners for access to their mobile, online, offline, or other user traffic. We enter into agreements of varying durations with distribution partners that integrate our services into their web sites, indexes or other sources of user traffic. The primary economic structure of the distribution partner agreements is a variable payment based on a specified percentage of revenue.

These variable payments are often subject to minimum payment amounts per phone call or other action. Other payment structures that to a lesser degree exist include:

 

variable payments based on a specified metric, such as number of paid phone calls or other actions;

 

fixed payments, based on a guaranteed minimum amount of usage delivered; and

 

a combination arrangement with both fixed and variable amounts that may be paid in advance.

We expense user acquisition costs based on whether the agreement provides for variable or fixed payments. Agreements with variable payments based on a percentage of revenue, number of paid phone calls, or other metrics are expensed as incurred based on the volume of the underlying activity or revenue multiplied by the agreed-upon price or rate. Agreements with fixed payments and with minimum guaranteed amounts of usage are expensed at the greater of the pro-rata amount over the term of arrangement or the actual usage delivered to date based on the contractual revenue share.

Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of:

 

payroll and related expenses for personnel engaged in marketing and sales functions;

 

advertising and promotional expenditures including online and outside marketing activities;

 

cost of systems used to sell to and serve advertisers; and

 

stock-based compensation of related personnel.

Product Development

Product development costs consist primarily of expenses incurred in the research and development, creation and enhancement of our websites and services.

Our research and development expenses include:

 

payroll and related expenses for personnel;

 

costs of computer hardware and software;

 

costs incurred in developing features and functionality of the services we offer; and

 

stock-based compensation of related personnel.

For the periods presented, substantially all of our product development expenses are research and development. Product development costs are expensed as incurred or capitalized into property and equipment in accordance with FASB ASC 350, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other. This statement requires that costs incurred in the preliminary project and post-implementation stages of an internal use software project be expensed as incurred and that certain costs incurred in the application development stage of a project be capitalized.

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General and Administrative

General and administrative expenses consist primarily of:

 

payroll and related expenses for executive and administrative personnel;

 

professional services, including accounting, legal and insurance;

 

bad debt provisions;

 

facilities costs;

 

other general corporate expenses; and

 

stock-based compensation of related personnel.

Stock-Based Compensation

We measure stock-based compensation cost at the grant date based on the fair value of the award and recognize it as expense, net of estimated forfeitures, over the vesting or service period, as applicable, of the stock award using the straight-line method. Stock-based compensation expense has been included in the same lines as compensation paid to the same employees in the consolidated statements of operations.

Provision for Income Taxes

We utilize the asset and liability method of accounting for income taxes. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases and operating loss and tax credit carryforwards. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax law is recognized in results of operations in the period that includes the enactment date. Uncertain tax positions as of December 31, 2015 and 2016 amounted to $888,000 and $1.1 million, respectively.

At December 31, 2016, based upon both positive and negative evidence available, we determined that it is not more likely than not that our deferred tax assets of $44.5 million will be realized and accordingly, we have recorded 100% valuation allowance of $44.5 million against these deferred tax assets. This compares to a valuation allowance of $34.5 million at December 31, 2015. Based on the level of historical taxable losses and the uncertainty of projections for future taxable income over the periods for which the deferred tax assets are deductible, we concluded that it is not more likely than not that the gross deferred tax assets will be realized. In assessing the realizability of deferred tax assets, we considered whether it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will be realized. The ultimate realization of deferred tax assets depends on the generation of future taxable income during the periods in which those temporary differences are deductible. We also considered the future reversal of deferred tax liabilities, carryback potential, projected taxable income, and tax planning strategies as well as its history of taxable income or losses in the relevant jurisdictions in making this assessment. We incurred taxable losses in 2014, 2015, and 2016. As of December 31, 2016, our federal NOL carryforwards were approximately $63.5 million for income tax purposes, which will begin to expire in 2026. As of December 31, 2016, our state, city, and other foreign jurisdiction NOL carryforwards were approximately $6.4 million, which begin to expire in 2025.

In addition, at December 31, 2015 and 2016, we have certain federal NOL carryforwards of approximately $1.7 million, which begin to expire in 2019. The Tax Reform Act of 1986 limits the use of NOL and tax credit carryforwards in certain situations where changes occur in the stock ownership of a company. We believe that such a change has occurred related to these specific NOL carryforwards, and that the utilization is limited such that substantially all of these NOL carryforwards will never be utilized. Accordingly, we have not included these federal NOL carryforwards in its deferred tax assets.

From time to time, various state, federal, and other jurisdictional tax authorities undertake reviews of us and our filings. We believe any adjustments that may ultimately be required as a result of any of these reviews will not be material to the financial statements.

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Comparison of the year ended December 31, 2015 (2015) to the year ended December 31, 2016 (2016) and comparison of the year ended December 31, 2014 (2014) to the year ended December 31, 2015 (2015).

Segments

We have historically organized our operations into two segments: (1) Call-driven, which is comprised of our performance-based advertising business focused on driving phone calls and our Local Leads platform; and (2) Archeo, which included our click-based advertising and Internet domain name operations that were sold in 2015.   For the year ended December 31, 2016, our operating results are primarily all Call-driven and other operating activities related to the transition related activities of the Archeo operations were not significant and therefore are not presented below.   For the years ended December 31, 2014 and 2015, operating results by segment were as follows:

 

 

 

Years ended December 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2015

 

Call-driven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

$

168,051

 

 

$

139,886

 

Operating expenses

 

 

156,952

 

 

 

132,077

 

Segment profit

 

$

11,099

 

 

$

7,809

 

Archeo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

$

5,550

 

 

$

3,127

 

Operating expenses

 

 

4,617

 

 

 

2,696

 

Segment profit

 

$

933

 

 

$

431

 

Reconciliation of segment profit to loss from

   continuing operations before provision for income

   taxes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total segment profit

 

$

12,032

 

 

$

8,240

 

Less reconciling items:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stock-based compensation

 

 

11,888

 

 

 

10,024

 

Amortization of intangible assets from

   acquisitions

 

 

434

 

 

 

 

Acquisition and disposition related costs

 

 

(68

)

 

 

219

 

Gain on sale of Archeo assets

 

 

 

 

 

(1,496

)

Interest expense and other, net

 

 

62

 

 

 

63

 

Loss from continuing operations before provision for

   income taxes

 

$

(284

)

 

$

(570

)

 

 

 

Years ended December 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2015

 

Reconciliation of segment revenue to consolidated

   revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call-driven

 

$

168,051

 

 

$

139,886

 

Archeo

 

 

5,550

 

 

 

3,127

 

Total

 

$

173,601

 

 

$

143,013

 

 

Revenue

2015 to 2016

Revenue decreased 9% from $143.0 million in 2015 to $129.5 million in 2016. The decrease was due primarily to a decrease in our Call-driven revenues and no Archeo revenues generated in 2016 as a result of the sale of the Archeo operations in 2015. Archeo revenues for the year ended December 31, 2015 were $3.1 million.

Our Call-driven revenues decreased 7% from $139.9 million in 2015 to $129.5 million in 2016. This decrease was due primarily to lower advertiser budgets for our pay-for-call services and fewer YP small business accounts and related revenues.

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We expect our revenues to be lower in the near and intermediate terms compared to the previous years quarters with fewer small business accounts on our local leads platform and reduced demand for calls from our call advertising customers.

Under our primary contract with YP, we generate revenues from our local leads platform to sell call advertising and/or search marketing packages through their existing sales channels, which are then fulfilled by us across our distribution network. We are paid account fees and agency fees for our products in the form of a percentage of the cost of every call or click delivered to their advertisers. We also have a separate pay-for-call relationship with YP. We charge an agreed-upon price for qualified calls or leads from our network. In 2016, we extended these agreements through December 31, 2018. The primary local leads platform arrangement provides YP flexibility to migrate active accounts to itself or a third-party provider prior to the end of an advertiser contract and provides YP with certain termination rights beginning January 1, 2018 upon four months prior notice. Our revenues from YP as a percentage of our total revenue have decreased and may continue to comprise a smaller percentage of our total revenue.  We expect YP may decrease the number of new advertiser accounts with us and may elect to migrate certain active accounts to itself or a third party provider which would result in fewer small business accounts and related revenues, as well as reduced contribution and profitability. YP’s small business account base utilizing our platform has declined, and to the extent declines occur in their business, their small business accounts may spend fewer dollars on our pay-for-call services. We expect YP in future periods will comprise lower total revenues compared to previous periods. We also have a separate distribution partner agreement with YP. There can be no assurance that our business with them in the future will continue at or near current revenue and contribution levels, that we will be able to renew and extend the contracts, and if renewed, the contracts may be on less favorable terms to us, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our future operating results.  YP accounted for 29% and 23% of total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2016, respectively.

We also have arrangements with advertising agencies, such as Resolution Media and OMD Digital, who act on an advertiser’s behalf and may represent more than one advertiser that utilizes our products and services. Our primary arrangement with Resolution Media is for pay-for-call services whereby we charge an agreed-upon price for qualified calls or leads from our network and call analytic services. Resolution Media accounted for 18% and 20% of total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2016, respectively, of which the majority related to a single advertiser, State Farm. State Farm, who utilizes our services through Resolution Media and OMD Digital, accounted for 19% and 23% of total revenues for the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2016, respectively.  Resolution Media and OMD Digital place insertion orders