Unruly is the marketing firm behind Google’s Chrome paid link fiasco – the campaign by which Googlers are saying they are embarrassed.
Still, Unruly announced today that it is has just raised $25 million in funding in a Series A investment from Amadeus Capital Partners, Van den Ende & Deitmers and The British Growth Fund.
Unruly says it’s the largest ever for a private company in the social video sector.
The company was founded in 2006. It has offices in San Francisco, London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Sydney. It claims to have delivered, tracked and audited 1.34 billion user-intended video views and executed 1,400+ successful social video campaigns for brands like Evian (Roller Babies), T-Mobile (Life’s for sharing) and Old Spice (Man Your Man Could Smell Like).
They’ve also done campaigns for EA, Adidas, Unilever, and of course Google.
“Today represents an important milestone for the company and social video as a whole,” said Unruly founder and CEO Scott Button. “Five years ago, we set out to help brands capture the massive opportunity in social video and we’re delighted that such a distinguished group of investors share our conviction.”
Button’s response to the whole Google ordeal, was (via Peter Kafka):
As far as I’m aware, there was one link in one post that was not marked nofollow. This was corrected as soon as we became aware of it.
We’re always completely upfront and transparent with bloggers that we are running commercial campaigns and who we’re working for. We always require that bloggers disclose any commercial incentive to post video content. We always require that bloggers disclose even on related tweets that they might do off their own bats.
It’s also a key part of how we operate that we don’t tell bloggers what or how to write. It’s really important that opinions expressed and the tone of voice belong to the author not the advertiser. Occasionally that leads to human error, as here, so we’re always really happy to have these kinds of example flagged and will sort them out as quickly as we possibly can.
Shortly thereafter, several Google employees started discussing the whole thing. Jason Morrison, for example, responded to a post from Google’s Matt Cutts about the situation, by saying:
This is embarrassing, but a good illustration of two things:
1. Why I like working at Google. The Search Quality Team tries to apply the Webmaster Guidelines fairly – even on other Google products.
2. Why you should pay attention to what any marketing, advertising, or SEO companies might be doing on your behalf.
Either way, I’m sure some of Unruly’s campaigns, such as Old Spice and Evian will be remembered long after the Google ordeal is forgotten.
“Unruly’s proprietary technology platform and aggressive global growth strategy in a fast-growing market is really impressive,” said Richard Anton, Partner at Amadeus Capital Partners. “We are delighted to be supporting the company build on its success, bringing our experience of building a number of international marketing and advertising technology companies, including Celltick, ComQi and EPiServer.”
“With global online ad spend set to reach $110 billion by 2014 and online video ad spend predicted to be the fastest growing category, we believe Unruly is strongly positioned to be the winner in the global social video market,” said Martijn Hamann, Partner of Van den Ende & Deitmers.
“In a short space of time, Unruly has played a major role in the explosive growth of social video and this investment gives it additional firepower,” said Marion Bernard, Regional Director of BGF. “We look forward to working with the company and our co-investors to take advantage of the very significant global expansion opportunities. BGF is working in partnership with other investors to expand the pool of investment capital to growing and ambitious UK companies as a key part of developing the entrepreneurial economy”
Torch Partners and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP advised on the funding.