There’s long been big money in selling ads to small businesses. In decades past, companies that published phone books banked a large chunk of the profits. Today, tech companies—including giants like Angie’s List, Google, and Groupon, as well as dozens of startups—are vying for local digital ad spending, which will top $38 billion in 2016, according to BIA/Kelsey.
Count GoDaddy, best known for selling domain names and running controversial Super Bowl ads, among the competitors. The Scottsdale (Ariz.)-based company has long sold a website builder tool to small businesses. Yesterday the company said it had acquired Locu, a San Francisco startup that uses machine learning to help small businesses reach potential customers. (AllThingsD reports the price tag was $70 million.)