Website Closers® presents an online business that has spent 23 years entertaining people who share the founder’s passion for puzzles and games. But what started out as a hobby has become a highly profitable operation with millions in advertising revenue, even as the site remains free for viewers to use with no money spent on marketing or advertising the website, which attracts more than 19 million monthly sessions and 78 million pageviews. This Online Service Provider has a number of options for users, including Crossword Solvers – for those times when you just can’t find the answer to a New York Times or other Crossword, as well as help with Scrabble, Words with Friends, and more. The website also hosts many puzzles and games as well, including Word Jumbles, Word Search, Cryptograms, Boggle, Sudoku and many other word games.
Today, this website generates 99% of its revenue from programmatic display ads on 17+ Networks where their massive volume of organic visitors creates strong CPM revenue for the business. Advertisers also see the benefit in targeting those that play games and puzzle lovers. This website was an early pioneer in the use of online puzzles as a successful form of eCommerce. More than simply making puzzles and games available, the website enticed users by promising to help them find smart ways of beating their friends and competitors at games such as Scrabble, Literati and more. The available word game solver tools on this site have made it more attractive than what other games sites are offering, which has increased their popularity with users – and with advertisers.
This kind of display advertising is a huge industry for websites with high traffic volume. Programmatic advertising was valued at $155 Billion in 2021, up from $129 billion in 2020, and North American has accounted for three quarters of the global programmatic spending since 2019. So how did this website capture the hearts and minds of so many devoted users, especially after starting out as a passion project for the founder? The website accomplished its goal of giving users something they couldn’t find elsewhere, which is where the fast-rising profits started to become a reality.
The website set out to build a loyal following. Since its original launch in May 1999, the site has grown dramatically in both search engine rank and users by offering a variety of game solver tools, many of them created after the site’s owner developed a Crypto Cracker to help solve a cryptogram. Additional tools have since been added, and their audience has grown with them.
While the site was created purely for entertainment purposes, it became clear it was giving a lot of word game lovers exactly what they were looking for. Two decades later, their audience has expanded, with visitors having played more than 30 million Boggler games and 10 million Crossword Challenge games on the site.
Wordsmiths have become a key segment of the site’s fan base, and the greater the challenge, the more people the site attracts. In the past few years, the website has averaged 5.5 million unique monthly visitors.
Their audience tends to be an older and more affluent customer demographic, slightly more women than men, and visitors with an above average level of education – an ideal demographic that businesses want to reach. Those numbers have impressed advertisers.
Revenue is steady and could scale rapidly. While programmatic display ads have become the company’s chief source of revenue, the company does make occasional direct ad sales as well. The company does exceptionally well holding on to their advertisers – their Retention Rate is 75%.
There are additional methods available to this company to boost revenue beyond programmatic ads. Today puzzles and games are played not just on personal computers and laptops, but also apps, and the company could develop their own mobile and tablet apps. The company could expand the number of games they offer, which would increase their monthly visits to even higher levels, and offer a subscription model for their audience, offering bonuses and perks to those who become regular subscribers.
Their high organic traffic was achieved without a marketing budget. The company has reaped the financial rewards of having high traffic volume, and it’s significant to note that this was accomplished with a marketing budget. The company does have the advantage of a small social media presence, but nothing has been done in social media to advance the user base. A new buyer that has experience in social media could more fully develop this channel. They also have 300,000+ subscribers in their email database that is not used for any follow up emails. Regardless, their traffic has largely been organic, and their customers keep coming back.
That provides this company with a major scale opportunity through a host of digital marketing plans, from PPC ads on Google to an expanded social media presence and an email newsletter to subscribers, all untapped possibilities. The company recently launched a new SEO program to fully optimize the website for popular keywords, and to establish their first link building campaign to drive traffic higher.
The current owner is available to stay on in some form post-acquisition to help ensure this is a smooth and successful transition, whether from an SEM perspective, or otherwise.
This is a turnkey operation. The current owner spends around 20 hours per week operating the business, while employing a developer, part-time advertising ops coordinator, part-time manager of content creators and 9 content writers. The owner’s tasks include reviewing production quotas, monitoring site traffic, writing and maintaining software, and coordinating with ad partners and vendors. There are no particular skills that a new CEO can’t be trained on. Digital advertising has become a major industry for websites that know how to attract and capture the attention of their main audience, as this site has done. With the ability to scale using new methods for generating revenue, this website is poised to expand.
This Online Business is Represented by:
Tech & Internet M&A