Pan-European online publisher Populis eyes Dublin expansion

21 Oct 2010

Content on demand publisher Populis, which employs 45 people in Dublin and manages more than 500 websites, has moved into new offices in Dublin with enough room for more than 80 people.

The company has been operating in Ireland since November 2006 and has partnerships in place with major web giants Google, Yahoo!, eBay, and Expedia.

Previously known as GoAdv, Populis is locating its new operations on Barrow Street, across the road from Google’s head offices.

Future Human

Its content, from news to guides, is crowdsourced from a team of expert collaborators and published through its network of wholly owned and operated websites, including Excite Europe, Better Deals, Blogsfere and Nanopublishing. The organisation has more than 18 million unique monthly users across 500 wholly owned and operated websites in eight languages.

A scientific approach

The company takes a scientific approach to content generation, with a database of more than 16 million key words and a proprietary algorithm to define the hottest content topics of web users. Once identified, matching news, features, guides and comment content is then crowdsourced from a network of professional writers, video producers, expert contributors and editors.

This content is then published across a network of wholly owned media brands and optimised for search traffic via search marketing, social tools and community engagement. This content is then monitised through partnerships with tier 1 search.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic, John Slyne, the managing director of Populis Ireland and chief financial officer of the company, said the operations in Dublin is focused on three areas: content management, traffic acquisition work with Google and Yahoo! and finance.

“Our content editors work with editors and contributors from across Europe and manage 500 websites with 18 million unique visitors per month. Our traffic acquisition teams work with organisations like Google, which gives us huge scope and less account management because it is one relationship rather than direct clients.”

Slyne confirmed that a further expansion of Populis in Dublin could be in the offing. “We have 45 people here in Dublin but we have put in 80 desks; we have a plan.”

He said that Populis, which was started in Rome in 2004 by Luca Ascani and Salvatore Esposito, has been profitable from day one and has achieved multiple awards from Media Momentum and Red Herring 100. According to GP Bullhound Media Momentum, Populis is the fourth fastest-growing larger digital media company in Europe.

“We have cash and our strategy for growth involves merger and acquisition opportunities,” Slyne continued.

How to get ahead in new media

Slyne said that content is king in the new media world and the standard is being set by companies like Populis, as well as Demand Media, AOL and Yahoo! in the US.

“This is about new media and the movement from traditional media to new media. We’re not really competing with traditional media, we’re more for people with less time but who want to read content before making decisions. We have 16 million keywords and are constantly looking at trends and we’ll create the content for where the advertisers are.

“The challenges for the future are keeping up with the new formats, such as apps for devices like the iPad, Android and iPhone. If you are serious about being a new media company, you have to look at all of these segments.

“With the likes of AOL, Demand Media and Yahoo! active, we are the only company in Europe with a pan-European base. Only 27pc of internet users have English as a first language.”

Slyne said the key reason for Populis locating in Dublin was languages. “The key thing about Dublin is people and languages all in one location. It’s hard to get any other city in Europe where you can find people whose mother tongue is the language you are seeking. Only the other day we needed a guy to run a Japanese campaign – the very next day we had hired a Japanese staffer.”

IDA Ireland’s CEO Barry O’Leary said: “As the only major player in the sector to produce content in eight languages, Populis is a welcome addition to Ireland’s vibrant digital media portfolio and its rapid growth here is testament to the local management and highly skilled and talented staff working in the Dublin HQ.”