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TechTarget acquires ServerSide, readies midmarket IT magazine

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TechTarget certainly had a busy November. On Nov. 30, the information technology media company announced its acquisition of TheServerSide Communities from Veritas Software Corp. That followed TechTarget's announcement on Nov. 9 that it planned to launch next April a monthly magazine called CIODecisions, aimed at midmarket CIOs and IT executives.

TechTarget CEO Greg Strakosch said the company's expansion has by no means peaked. "Within the next 60 days, we'll be launching another five Web sites," he said.

The company's growth plan was pushed into overdrive by the $70 million in venture capital funding it received earlier this year. It has used the money for acquisitions, launches and to hire new talent.

TheServerSide Communities deal appears to be more representative of how TechTarget plans to grow, at least in the short term. The new properties, which include TheServerSide.com, TheServerSide.net and TheServerSide Java Symposium, are similar to TechTarget's bread and butter: niche Web sites.

Floyd Marinescu, founder of TheServerSide.com and former general manager of TheServerSide Communities, will continue to direct the growth of TheServerSide.com and its affiliated media as publisher of TechTarget's Application Development Media Group.

The upcoming launch of CIODecisions shows a different kind of expansion, driven by a willingness to take risks and an ability to attract talent from rivals.

Strakosch has long disparaged broad IT publications, but he's willing to make a big bet on CIODecisions, which will have a controlled circulation of 60,000. "It's fair to say that the Fortune 1,000 CIO market is overpublished and overserved, but it's also fair to say that the midmarket is grossly underserved," he said.

The midmarket is exactly what TechTarget is aiming for with the CIODecisions Media Group, which will also include events and the Web site CIODecisions.com.

Running the publication will be the talent TechTarget attracted earlier this year with a portion of its VC funding. Joe Levy, who founded CIO for International Data Group in 1987, will lead sales and operations as group publisher. Maryfran Johnson, who came to TechTarget from IDG's Computerworld, will be the editor in chief of CIODecisions.

The idea behind the magazine is that midmarket IT professionals have different concerns and budget constraints than, say, the CIO at General Motors Corp. "There's a surprising vacuum of resources dedicated to IT leaders in the midmarket, despite their growing influence of purchasing power," Johnson said.

Pointing out that the next Dell and the next Google were likely in the midmarket right now, Levy said tech marketers want to reach this subset of companies because that's where the growth is. "The global 2000," he said, "does not have that much new spending."

The move also shows that TechTarget is adhering to the model it has pursued with Storage and Information Security-building a monthly print publication geared to a segment of IT and then surrounding it with targeted events and a Web site.

The model appears to be working. Privately held TechTarget said it posted 39% revenue growth in the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period last year.

"They've figured out how to make money where nobody else has," said Seth Alpert, managing director at AdMedia Partners. "I would say if anybody has a chance of making [a new print publication work], it would be them." 

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