In 1989, Strakosch started his own content business that rated computer equipment and published newsletters. In 1992, he sold the company to United Communications Group, which was where he and Don Hawk later developed the idea for TechTarget. Founded in 1999, TechTarget has been a pioneer in creating a profitable template for b-to-b publishing on the Web.
At UCG, the focus was, as it is now, on narrow, targeted newsletters that provided must-have content. At the time of the dot-com boom, the model in favor across the Web was that of portals AOL and Yahoo!. With Hawk, who is now president of TechTarget, Strakosch conceived the idea of creating narrow portals. "We said, `Let's combine the two business models. Let's build a Yahoo!-type, very specific portal for these different specific technology sectors,"' Strakosch said.
UCG provided the seed money and spun TechTarget out as the dot-com craze was gaining momentum. Long past the dot-com bust, TechTarget has been more than a survivor; it has thrived in large part because of the continual innovations of Strakosch, Hawk, VP-Group Publisher Paul Gillin and others.
The first tweak to the original business model was to become more than an aggregator of content by moving into the creation of content. TechTarget now has about 100 journalists on staff, as well as 250 experts and about 80 freelancers.
Another innovation was branching out beyond the Web ad banners that were TechTarget's primary source of income in its early years. The company began offering different ad formats as well as e-mail newsletters, webcasts and other ad-driven vehicles on the Web.
Strakosch and his team also realized that their advertisers needed more than the Internet to reach customers. So in December 2001, TechTarget announced the launch of its conference division, which employed a controlled circulation model in which attendees were highly qualified and paid no admission fee, and sponsors generated the revenue. "People thought we were crazy," Strakosch said.
Additionally, TechTarget moved into print, launching some publications and acquiring others. Its most recent print foray is CIO Decisions , a magazine aimed at midmarket IT executives that debuted in April.
Strakosch said the new magazine does what all other TechTarget products do: provide deep, targeted information to an underserved market. -S. C.