Yates gets to work for

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Kathy Yates, who was tapped as CEO of in late January, takes the helm during a crucial period for the online resource for small and midsize businesses.

While technically relaunched its business platform during the third and fourth quarters of 2006, the company is just now starting to educate existing and potential customers about the Web site's new tools.

"We're creating a capability of putting together a huge package of information on any given topic that would interest our readers," said Yates, who joined in 2005 as COO after serving as president-COO of, where she guided the 2005 sale of the company to Dow Jones & Co. for $519 million.

New capabilities have been designed to make the Web site more user-friendly and to broaden the way the information is delivered. They include "how-to" articles, trade magazine features, blog posts, video segments and—in a term that has been burned into the brain of most every senior b-to-b media executive—user-generated content. is also building a resource site that does not "isolate" the content regardless of where it originates, Yates said. The content runs the SMB gamut. Aside from educating users on how to start their own business, offers managers advice on franchising, human resources, operations, sales, technology, finance and accounting, and marketing and advertising.

The Web site is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to provide SMB executives with plenty of information. In the last 12 months, it has expanded its library to nearly 2 million articles from several thousand, according to Yates.

At last count, was generating about 1.3 million unique users a month. "It's a sizable audience that addresses the SMB," Yates said. "And we want to provide a venue where marketers can reach decision-makers just as they are making a decision about purchasing a product or service they hope will grow their business."

Although she could not provide specific dollar figures, Yates said's overall revenue grew 400% to $10 million in 2006. Yates expects that to nearly double this year. "We're anticipating rapid growth," she said. "We reach an audience that uses the Web extensively."

One route to driving more revenue: the introduction of "Centers," or sub-sites that appeal to SMB companies. First out of the gate: restaurants and medical practices.

Yates wants to cast a fairly wide net for Centers to eventually include, for example, professional services, accounting, consulting, construction, financial planning and retail. "The idea is not only to provide good resources of information but to provide a place where people can connect with other people from their own industry," she said.

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