HubSpot

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HubSpot, Inc.
Type Private
Founded June 2006
Headquarters Cambridge, Massachusetts
Key people Brian Halligan, CEO & Founder
Dharmesh Shah, CTO & Founder
Jim O'Neill, CIO
Mike Volpe, VP Marketing
Mark Roberge, VP Sales
Yoav Shapira, VP Engineering
David Stack, CFO
Jonah Lopin, VP Customer Services
[1]
Industry Internet Marketing
Web Analytics
Online Marketing
Products HubSpot Owner
HubSpot Marketer
Consulting service
Employees 85 (7/9/2009)[2]
120 (10/23/2009) [3]
Website http://www.hubspot.com/

HubSpot is a venture funded[4] online marketing and web analytics company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Its customer base grew from over 1,400 (as of July 2009)[2] to over 1,800 (as of October 2009)[3], mainly in the USA.

Contents

History

The founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2004 and incorporated HubSpot in June 2006[5]. It was backed by venture capitalists including General Catalyst Partners[6], Matrix Partners[7][8][9], and Scale Venture Partners[10].

Products and Services

  • HubSpot Small Business[11][12] (formerly HubSpot Owner) offers SEO, marketing analytics, content management system, business blogging, and landing pages.
  • HubSpot Medium[11][13] (formerly HubSpot Marketer) add features such as Salesforce.com integration for closed-loop marketing metrics. A related product (HubSpot Large) adds features such as premium support.
  • Consulting services[14]

Strategy

HubSpot is based on the idea that permission or inbound marketing (e.g. appearance in a search engine results page (SERP) at the moment a prospective customer is searching on a term related to your product) is more powerful than interruption or outbound marketing (e.g. TV advertisements that interrupt a person at random who wants to watch the show not an ad). Their products help customers use and measure internet marketing techniques such as social media, blogging, and search engine optimization (SEO). They include a set of tools such as:

  • Business blogging and analytics
  • Keyword Grader which help you find search engine keywords that are popular, relevant, and are relatively neglected by ones competition
  • Link Grader to assess and compare the number and authority of the inbound links that most modern search engines use to generate their SERPs
  • Page Grader to offer suggestions for on-page SEO such as length of the title and description in the head of HTML pages, alt tags on images etc.
  • Website Grader which compares web sites for SEO qualities, and offers suggestions for improvement. The paid version adds trending and other features versus the gratis version.

The company is influenced by the ideas of David Meerman Scott who serves on its board as special advisor[15]. Scott featured Website Grader is his book World Wide Rave[16] and HubSpot is a sponsor of the Inbound Marketing Summit[17] that Scott co-organizes. Scott wrote the foreword and is series editor of a book that Halligan and Shah co-authored[18]. Scott's E-book Goobledygook Manifesto[19] inspired gobbledygook.grader.com (an automated tool to detect gobbledygook) and some metrics in pressrelease.grader.com. A copy of Scott's book The New Rules of Marketing and PR[20] appears prominently on Rebecca Corliss's desk in her music video that satirizes Link love[21].

File:Biz-mvolpe-karenrubin.jpeg
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is celebrity guest of Karen Rubin and Mike Volpe on hubspot.tv April 17, 2009 Photo: Kyle James (CC-BY-SA)

HubSpot models the behavior it teaches its own customers by promoting itself through conversations, not one-way broadcast, and by the 'publish your way in' (or 'think like a publisher' or 'always be publishing (ABP)') mindset. This strategy is in alignment with Google's advice to webmasters[22] that to rank high in the SERPs you must create great content that readers will want to link to. Content includes:

For one hubspot.tv episode[27], the hosts secured a celebrity guest appearance from Biz Stone not by hiring a booking agent but by hearing he was in the area, hosting a #BizInBoston Tweetup event[28], and then creating a viral campaign[29] on Twitter itself using a #bizinboston hashtag and mentions of Stone's Twitter username. The tactic initially caused concern among some members of the Twitter community, but these were quickly resolved[30].

Return on Investment

A recent study by a student at MIT Sloan School of Management indicates a substantial return on investment of the HubSpot methodology[31]. HubSpot itself also has published several success stories[32]. One web site offers a free spreadsheet to estimate ROI on such methods[33].

Community

HubSpot is a sponsor of InboundMarketing.com, a community website for marketers[34].

Easter Eggs

Besides the eight listed subdomains[35], the grader.com site has an unadvertized Easter egg subdomain:

Criticism and Controversy

Guy Kawasaki praises Website Grader[36] for its effectiveness and its congruence with his webmaster's SEO practices and own informal SEO strategy of "Create as good content as you can and assume that Google finds it." On the other hand, Michael Gray claims[37] that automated analysis of the on-page and off-page SEO can give misleading results compared to human expert analysis. The comments section of this posting includes a rebuttal from Shah. Similar pro and con themes emerged in a discussion[38] on the Web Pro World Forum.

Video blogger Steve Garfield visited the hubspot.tv studio for the Biz Stone episode[27] and published a largely favorable review[39].

HubSpot's Hill & Shah satirized their industry in a cartoon[40] which speculates that such marketing is only being used incestuously to market marketing to marketeers. Nick Ellery's commentary[41] on this expresses concern that it's hard to find "gems" for marketing.

In his analysis[42] of Google's sandboxing of Website Grader in May 2009, SEO expert Rand Fishkin speculated that it was a case of Google's anti-spamdexing algorithm "...throwing out the baby with the bathwater." The grader.com domain acquired over 250,000 inbound links from inception to the time the article was written[43] and it's possible this unusually rapid growth tripped a "circuit breaker" in Google's algorithm. By September 2009 or earlier, HubSpot has overcome this issue, and its position on Google SERPs for the queries Fishkin used is at or near the number one position.

Some attendees of HubSpot webcasts question[44] HubSpot's judgement on the delicate matter of when one has won permission to talk about ones products rather than the audience's critical business issue.

Notes

  1. "HubSpot Management". HubSpot, Inc.. http://www.hubspot.com/company/management/. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "How to Use Social Media for Lead Generation Webinar". HubSpot. http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/docs/social_media_lead_generation_july2009.pdf#page=3. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "How to Promote Your Business Blog Using HubSpot". HubSpot. http://www.hubspot.com/Portals/53/docs/promote_business_blog_with_hubspot_october_2009_final.pdf#page=3. Retrieved 2009-10-23. "Over 120 employees ... $16M third round led by Scale Partners ..." 
  4. HubSpot Secures 5 Million in Venture Capital Funding Led by General Catalyst (Retrieved on 2009,April 19)
  5. "More About HubSpot... Internet Marketing Company". http://www.hubspot.com/internet-marketing-company/. 
  6. "Our Investments, HubSpot". http://www.generalcatalyst.com/portfolio/hubspot. Retrieved May 5, 2009. 
  7. "LinkedIn Companies: HubSpot". http://www.linkedin.com/companies/hubspot. "Since founding in 2006 at MIT, HubSpot has raised two rounds of venture capital from Tier A investors, Matrix and General Catalyst" 
  8. "HubSpot, Inc. Secures $12,000,000 Series B Financing". http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2008/05/16/hubspot-inc-secures-12000000-series-b-financing/. 
  9. "Online Marketing System Hubspot Raises $12 Million Second Round Funding". http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-online-marketing-system-hubspot-raises-12-million-second-round-funding/. "...$12 million in a second round led by Matrix Partners. Previous backer General Catalyst also participated in the latest round. ...raised a $5 million first round last July and received $500,000 in a seed round two years ago." 
  10. "HubSpot Raises $16 Million in Financing for Marketing Software; Round Led by Scale Venture Partners". http://www.scalevp.com/news/portfolio/hubspot-20091019.html. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "HubSpot Inbound Marketing System". http://www.hubspot.com/products-1/. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  12. "HubSpot Small Business Helps Drive Leads". http://www.hubspot.com/products/small-business/. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  13. "HubSpot Medium". http://www.hubspot.com/products/medium/. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  14. "About HubSpot Services". http://www.hubspot.com/services/. Retrieved May 18, 2009. 
  15. "HubSpot Board of Directors". http://www.hubspot.com/company/board-of-directors/. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  16. Scott, David Meerman (2009). World Wide Rave: Creating Triggers that Get Millions of People to Spread Your Ideas and Share Your Stories. Wiley. p. 129–131. ISBN 978-0470395004. http://www.worldwiderave.com/. Retrieved April 20, 2009. 
  17. "Sponsor list, Inbound Marketing Summit 2009, San Francisco". http://city.inboundmarketingsummit.com/sf/sponsors.html. Retrieved April 19, 2009. 
  18. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 2009. ISBN 0470499311. "Scheduled for publication in October 2009" 
  19. Scott, David Meerman (August 8, 2007). "The Gobbledygook Manifesto" (PDF). http://changethis.com/pdf/37.03.Gobbledygook.pdf. Retrieved May 20, 2009. 
  20. Scott, David Meerman (2007). The new rules of marketing and PR how to use news releases, blogs, podcasts, viral marketing and online media to reach your buyers directly. Hoboken, N.J.: J. Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 0470113456. 
  21. "Webmaster Guidelines at Google". http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769. 
  22. Todd Andrlik; Charlie Moran. "AdAge Power 150: A Daily Ranking of Marketing Blogs". Advertising Age Magazine (Crain Communications). http://adage.com/power150/. Retrieved May 19, 2009. "#73: HubSpot Internet Marketing (as of access date: rankings are updated daily)" 
  23. HubSpot TV podcast archive at iTunes Store (link attempts to launch iTunes)
  24. HubSpot channel on YouTube. Retrived on 2009,April 20
  25. "You Oughta Know Inbound Marketing". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-lGe5MnBlY. Retrieved April 19, 2009.  A parody of the Alanis Morissette and Glen Ballard song You Oughta Know
  26. 27.0 27.1 Corliss, Rebecca (April 20, 2009,). "Twitter Co-Founder Biz Stone Visits HubSpot and Answers Five Business Questions". http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4687/Twitter-Co-Founder-Biz-Stone-Visits-HubSpot-and-Answers-Five-Business-Questions.aspx. Retrieved April 28, 2009. "The key to developing a community is listening, paying attention and engaging." 
  27. "#BizInBoston Tweetup". April 17, 2009. http://bizinboston.eventbrite.com/. Retrieved April 30, 2009. "Have you heard? The famous Biz Stone, founder of Twitter is in Boston for a few days! Let's give him a warm welcome..." 
  28. "Twitter search for #bizinboston hashtag". http://search.twitter.com/search?lang=all&q=%23bizinboston. "Over two hundred #bizinboston tweets in the one week period leading up Stone's visit" 
  29. Roush, Wade (April 20, 2009). "HubSpot, Hybernaut bury the hatchet for now". http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/04/20/hubspot-hybernaut-bury-the-twitter-hatchet-for-now/. Retrieved May 4, 2009. 
  30. DiBella, Melissa (February 2009). "Return on Investment from Inbound Marketing through Implementing HubSpot Software" (PDF). http://www.hubspot.com/Default.aspx?app=LeadgenDownload&shortpath=docs%2fROI_from_HubSpot.pdf. 
  31. "ROI from Inbound Marketing with HubSpot Software". http://www.hubspot.com/roi/. 
  32. "Practical Solutions For Measuring Marketing and ROI". http://www.staciechalmersinboundmarketing.com/Inbound-marketing-blog-for-small-business/bid/19238/Practical-Solutions-For-Measuring-Marketing-and-ROI. 
  33. "About InboundMarketing.com". http://www.inboundmarketing.com/about. 
  34. "Grader.com: Measure all that matters in inbound marketing". HubSpot, Inc. http://grader.com. Retrieved May 20, 2009. "grader.com grades websites, blogs, books, A/B web site actions, press releases, goobledygook, Facebook and Twitter profiles, and has one April Fool's joke subdomain that grades 'personality'" 
  35. Kawasaki, Guy (2007,October 3). "Website Grader". http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2007/10/website-grader.html. Retrieved 2009,April 19. "The fact that my blog did so well is entirely because of Neil Patel." 
  36. Gray, Michael (2007,October 5). "Why Website Grader is a Bad Idea". http://www.wolf-howl.com/seo/why-website-grader-is-a-bad-idea/. Retrieved 2009,April 28. "At the end of the day you need a [sic] an experienced analyst." 
  37. Allen, Craig (2009,April 14). "What is the value of the HubSpot Website Grader?". http://www.webproworld.com/search-engine-optimization-forum/82808-what-value-hubspot-website-grader.html. Retrieved 2009,April 28. "I've now run all my clients' sites through it and found that the average of all my websites ends up a measly 32.6!!!" 
  38. Garfield, Steve (2009,April 18). "Hubspot TV". http://offonatangent.blogspot.com/2009/04/hubspot-tv.html. Retrieved 2009,April 28. "There's a tendency to copy what TV does. That works, but we also have an opportunity to push the technology to add interaction and conversation, and that's exciting." 
  39. Shah, Dharmesh; Hill, ? (2009,January 14). "Social Media Marketing Madness Cartoon". http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/4494/Social-Media-Marketing-Madness-cartoon.aspx. Retrieved 2009,April 22. "I have a Facebook group for Twitter users that tweet about podcasters that talk about marketing bloggers" 
  40. Ellery, Nick (2009,January 15). "Hubspot’s Social Media Marketing Madness". http://marketingisadirtyword.com/2009/01/15/hubspots-social-media-marketing-madness/. Retrieved 2009,April 22. "...seemingly endless volume of noise out there around marketing, social media etc. It’s getting harder and harder to find those gems that deliver real value..." 
  41. Fishkin, Rand (2009,March 8). "Google's Sandbox Still Exists Exemplified by grader.com". http://www.seomoz.org/blog/googles-sandbox-still-exists-exemplified-by-gradercom. Retrieved 2009,April 28. "Let's check out some searches ... 'Websitegrader Website Marketing SEO Tool' ... Not in Top 200 at Google, #1 at Yahoo!, #1 at MSN/Live" 
  42. "grader.com link report for grader.com". http://grader.com/site/grader.com. Retrieved May 7, 2009. 
  43. Yarbrough, Adam (2008,December 17). "It's a tradeoff.". http://twitter.com/adamyarbrough/status/1063377092. Retrieved 2009,April 25. "#hubspot It's a tradeoff. We get free good information and a bit of a sales pitch. It IS still marketing, The ? is how hard is the pitch?" 

External links

  • hubspot.com - official site
  • grader.com - free samples of the type of tools HubSpot uses for measuring online presence

Trademark Notice

HubSpot is a US registered trademark of HubSpot Inc."Status of HubSpot from USPTO TARR server". http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=77516987. 

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