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Top 10 Stack Highlights of 2018

Top 10 Stack Highlights of 2018

Before we know it, we’ll be preparing for Black Friday and lamenting about how fast it all goes — so it’s best we take a moment to marvel at a successful 2018 before it’s too late. Here are ten top highlights worth a second look.

We Grew

As our business grew, so did our team. We onboarded 16 new employees in 2018, including a VP of Engineering, VP of Sales, designers, commerce writers, and much more. As always, a recruiter’s job is never done. Check out our current openings if you’re interested in joining our amazing team in 2019.

We Built

Our weekly meme-filled product release emails are a highlight in themselves, but the results of the 60+ updates are even more impressive. Some standout releases from our Product and Engineering teams include:

Subscription Commerce: We’re always looking for new, creative ways to increase revenue for our partners. One of the biggest challenges of native commerce is getting a reader to purchase more than once. That’s why we’ve been zeroing in on elevating the lifetime value of each customer via subscription commerce. We first launched this new application as Skillwise Pro, a build-your-own eLearning course bundle monthly subscription. Next, we expanded subscription commerce to our Shops platform in order to allow publishers to turn one-time purchasers into recurring revenue. We’re excited to continue to build on this technical infrastructure in 2019 to offer partners even more ways to retain and nourish customer relationships.

GDPR & Fraud: These key updates were crucial to our overall customer experience and something near and dear to our mission: digital security. Our GDPR updates allow us to protect the digital privacy of all our customers, an issue of growing importance in today’s climate. We also released new fraud-fighting technology to protect against fraudulent purchases and activity on behalf of our entire network.

We Gathered

We held our second annual publisher round table event in New York, bringing together a panel of voices from a wide variety of top publishers, including: CNN, Gizmodo Media Group, Hearst Digital Media, and NBCUniversal. We were honored to have Digiday writer and publisher commerce expert Max Willens lead us in an inspiring night of conversation. We’re already looking forward to holding this event again next year!

We Partied

We work hard, we play hard — and 2018 was no exception. Our annual cruise to Mexico was a hit as always, and a fantastic opportunity for our team to unwind and connect outside of the daily grind. Later in the year, we gathered with family, friends, and partners to celebrate Stack’s seventh birthday with tacos and tequila. It’s one of our favorite traditions and the perfect time to reflect on how far we’ve come over the years. We finished the year off with a company-sponsored white elephant and our annual holiday bash!

We Expanded

With more faces around the office—and more desks to match—we officially took over the next-door office, nearly doubling our space. We’re thrilled to now have an expanded office space and still enjoy our amazing location along the Venice boardwalk.

We Won

This year, we were proud to be recognized by Comparably for our top performing company culture. We were awarded in multiple categories, including: Perks & Benefits, Best Company (Los Angeles), Best CEO (Los Angeles), Best CEO for Women and Diversity (Los Angeles), and Professional Development. We were especially proud of our CEO and Founder, Josh, who was a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award here in Los Angeles.

We Learned

We heard our publishers, vendors, and customers, and worked on solutions to better address their needs. We have a multitude of exciting projects in the works, including: premium customer support that offers additional VIP treatment, a warranty program to better assure customers of product quality, faster shipping options, and more. We’re making bold business decisions to further the success and satisfaction of our entire network.

We Wrote

Our Brand Studio team produced 11,000 articles in 2018 to support the commerce efforts of our publisher partners. Connecting customers with brands via quality content is our bread and butter, and we’re excited to watch our Brand Studio continue to be a pioneer in the world of commerce content in 2019.

We Launched

2018 marked the official launch of StackMedia, the performance media branch of StackCommerce. We brought on Natalie Tarpinian as our new Vice President of Sales to spearhead these efforts, as we looked to round out our monetization toolkit by offering guaranteed premium content placements that drive users directly to brand sites rather than Shops. Launch partners included Microsoft, Snap, HelloSign, Monday.com, Vincero, Arcadia Power, Helix, and dozens more.

We Did It Together

We wouldn’t be here without our partnerships. This year, we partnered with 270 new brands and 50 new publishers and celebrated $100 million in payouts to our creator community. 2019 will continue to be about growing and serving our native commerce network — will you join us?!

 

We’re Celebrating $100 Million In Payouts to Our Creator Community

We’re Celebrating $100 Million In Payouts to Our Creator Community

We’re thrilled to announce today that we’ve reached a financial milestone of $100 million in total payouts to our creator network of publishers and brands! From the beginning, our creator network has been our foundation and driving force, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to reach this pivotal milestone.

Back in 2011, we got our start by connecting niche, tech-focused content sites and their readers with highly relevant tech products through commerce content. Since then, we’ve expanded into the men’s lifestyle vertical, partnering with online content creators like theCHIVE and AskMen and connecting them with awesome up-and-coming lifestyle brands including new-to-market Kickstarter successes like Bomber Barrel and Illumibowl. Today, our brand ecosystem includes over 2,500 product creators big and small including household names like Rosetta Stone, Audible, Grammarly, and Hulu. This milestone is a testament to their innovation, creativity, and strong partnerships.

Since then, we’ve entered the women’s lifestyle space in 2017 with the acquisition of Joyus, and more recently, the news vertical. Today, we work with over 750 diverse bloggers, online media publishers, and linear television producers, including CBS Interactive, Vox Media, Mashable, Gizmodo Media, TechCrunch, Tegna, Aol, Scripps, The Daily Beast and others.

Our CEO and Founder Josh Payne put it best when he noted, “I couldn’t think of a more important landmark as we celebrate our seventh birthday as a company. Our mission is about serving the world’s creators, whether it be journalists creating content, brands creating products, software developers creating apps, or instructors creating online courses to share with the world. Our vision is that StackCommerce not only helps creators financially today, but fuels them to continue to innovate and grow for years to come.”

Looking forward, we’re excited to serve our creators in fresh, innovative ways, including through our recent launch of StackMedia. Our new performance-based native advertising arm leverages network data and partnerships to drive consumers directly to brands’ websites, rather than into publisher shops. We’re thrilled to announce an amazing list of launch partners, including Microsoft, Snap, HelloSign, Monday.com, Vincero, Arcadia Power, Helix, and dozens more. This new division truly rounds out our monetization toolkit, furthering our mission of serving content and product creators.

StackCommerce Company Update September 2017

StackCommerce Company Update September 2017

Summer is disappearing faster than we’d like here at Stack HQ (and the enormous beach-going Venice crowds along with it). While we’ve definitely found moments to step out and breathe the ocean air, the team’s been busy breaking company records, innovating new ways to serve our publishers and merchants—and preparing for what looks to be an unforgettable Q4.

Here’s a taste of what we’ve been up to:

1. We hosted the 4th annual Stack Olympics, and it was epic.

The in-house team celebrated the fourth annual Stack Olympics on June 23rd and, as always, it was a raucous, competitive affair.

This year’s theme comprised Hollywood classics, with teams based off of The Sandlot, Space Jam, Star Wars, and more ‘80s – early ‘90s classics. The day consisted of a variety of challenges, testing Stackers’ mettle in a range of disciplines. When the games were completed, and the “work” day came to an end, teams retired to the office for drinks and pizza and, once again, were friends, coworkers, and allies. Another rousing success in the books, it’s safe to say Stack Olympics is one annual tradition here to stay.

2. Our publisher family grew by 42, and MediaPost wrote about it.

We would love to brag about our successful first half of 2017, but luckily, MediaPost did the heavy lifting for us. We were thrilled to be featured in their PublishersDaily section, and share some of our latest wins with the community, including: onboarding 42 new publishers, reporting an impressive 20% average gross margin for publisher partners (for comparison’s sake, affiliate networks generally offer 4-8%), and jumpstarting an amazing partnership with Mashable, who saw over 18,500 transactions in the first 60 days alone.

Check out the full post here.

3. We gathered (and got ridiculously inspired) as a team for our annual off-site.

Our annual off-site is one of the team’s favorite events of the year—and 2017 was no exception. This year we welcomed Jason Jaggard and Jon Roberts of Novus , who dished some inspiring wisdom to help us grow and develop as individuals in our careers and lives. We returned to the office motivated, ready to blow our goals out of the water, and (some of us) even a little tan from a day at the pool.

4. We welcomed our new VP of Sales, Paula Campbell—and she’s awesome.

We were thrilled to welcome a new member of them team to sunny Venice Beach, Paula Campbell! Paula brings years of experience leading sales teams at an impressive list of companies, including: Touch of Modern, LivingSocial, and Verizon Information Services. We can’t wait to watch Paula take our Sales Team and product catalogue to new heights—just in time for the holiday season.

5. We made one more big, exciting company change that we can’t wait to tell you about….

I’ll say no more. Updates to come soon!

StackCommerce Welcomes Karl House, Chief Revenue Officer, to the Executive Team

StackCommerce Welcomes Karl House, Chief Revenue Officer, to the Executive Team

We’re excited to announce the addition of Karl House, Chief Revenue Officer, to the StackCommerce team! Here at Stack, we are always searching for fresh voices looking to join our mission in creating innovative native commerce solutions that serve the world of online publishers. We’re thrilled to see how Karl will propel our vision to new heights. We welcomed Karl to the team (in true Stack fashion) by sitting him down for happy hour drinks and a live Q&A with the full team.

Before coming to Stack, Karl was Founder and CEO of the recently-acquired influencer monetization platform, Fanbread. That unique experience coupled with more than 10 years building sales, advertising and marketing teams at startups provided for some great advice and inspiration for our team — and even a brief magic show. Today, we’re happy to share a small piece of what we learned (you’ll have to BYOB this time, sorry).

Liz: You joined us after the acquisition of a company you built. Can you describe that journey?

Karl: Building and selling FanBread was one of my life’s biggest accomplishments. The journey began with quite simply with an idea I was passionate about. The scariest part was finding the courage to take the leap from my comfortable job and salary and commit to putting it all on the line. Once I finally took the leap, I quickly had to figure out how to fund the operations of the business, hire a team, gain customers and drive growth.

Prior to FanBread, I was primarily a revenue-focused professional. My experience at FanBread developed me into a more holistic leader – forcing me to solve operational, cultural, and technological challenges I had never before encountered.

Liz: What excited you about the opportunity at Stack?

Karl: Several factors excited me as Josh introduced me to the company, including:

Organic growth: Stack is in a very unique and impressive position to have achieved the scale it has with little venture funding.

The culture: The people I’ve interacted with at Stack are wonderful. The team is smart, driven, excited to be here, fun, warm … I could go on and on. But one of the things that jumped out to me most was the culture you all have created here. It’s very similar to what we were able to build at FanBread.

Interesting problems to solve: Stack is at a unique point in its growth. There are big, complex challenges that have the potential to unlock rapid growth for the company. I’m excited to be in the room with other smart people to tackle these challenges and take Stack to the next level.

Liz: As CRO, you will be touching several departments here at Stack. How do you begin to make an impact across such a wide array of functions?

Karl: It’s only been a few weeks, so I’m still developing a POV on where we should be focusing our resources to get the most bang for our buck. With that said, from a high level, one of my priorities as a leader is to remove barriers for the team and help increase productivity. Part of this effort includes providing training, advice and expertise to help team members grow within their positions. I also want to understand what objections we’re hearing in the market, and address those issues straight on to help them succeed.

Liz: At Stack, we stress the importance of work-life balance. What do you do to live a balanced life?

Karl: My family and my health are the most important things in my life. I try to be home before my boys go to bed every night. Most nights I miss dinnertime as they tend to eat on the early side, but I’m able to spend the mornings with them while my wife works. With two kids under 5, it’s been difficult to carve out loads of “me-time” for the past few years, but when I do, you’ll typically find me in the surf, in the pool or on the golf course.

Liz: What was the most important thing you learned in school?

Karl: The value of networking and building meaningful personal relationships. UCSB was a very social environment without a lot of downtime. It made for a really fun college experience, but also served as a great training ground for how to build connections with others.

Liz: What is your favorite thing about Stack so far?

Karl: The untapped potential. With this awesome team, Stack is well-positioned to double or triple revenue over the next few years. I’m excited to help unlock some of that growth with you all.

Introducing a New Look for StackCommerce

Introducing a New Look for StackCommerce

We’re excited to share a new look for StackCommerce!

We’ve come a long way since we were originally founded in 2011. What started out as a flash sale site for tech deals has grown into a powerful native commerce platform serving the world’s top online publishers and trending brands. We’ve evolved tremendously and we believe it’s time our look changed along with us.

The new logo and mark

Gone is the blue “stacked” icon we once borrowed from our owned-and-operated e-commerce shop, StackSocial, when we rebranded to StackCommerce back in 2014. In its place is a new logo which subtly encompasses a mark that better represents the heart of our mission: an infinity sign.

Woven together by the “c” and “o” in commerce, the infinity sign is the ultimate visual representation of the native commerce ecosystem we’ve built. Our platform facilitates limitless connections between our biggest stakeholders: content creators to publishers, publishers to brands, brands to audiences, audiences to unique offers, and ultimately unique offers back to content creators.

StackCommerce’s refreshed look and new color

While reflecting on our evolution from a B2C to a B2B company, we hoped to create a look that was better in line with the remarkable company we’ve built.

The biggest change you’ll notice is the transition to a new color. We felt a bright, bold teal hit the mark perfectly as a color that evoked much of the culture and work ethic we’ve established within our team. The perfect blend of blue’s confidence and green’s growth, teal beams with clarity and creativity. It says to the world that we’re not interested in simply fitting in with the crowd – and as a company that is not afraid to walk the uncharted path to success, we couldn’t feel more aligned.

Thank you for coming along this journey with us! We hope you enjoy our new look, and feel it celebrates the spirit of StackCommerce as much as we do.

StackCommerce Hack Day Spring 2017

StackCommerce Hack Day Spring 2017

As company traditions go, Hack Day is one of the most beloved events of the year here at StackCommerce. Last week, for the sixth time, we left our daily tasks behind, turned off (or down) our inboxes, loaded up on company-provided grub, and spent the day thinking big and thinking boldly about native commerce.

As with any startup, innovation is our bread-and-butter, and Hack Day is the perfect day to remind ourselves that no idea is too out-of-the-box if it helps our publishers and brands in new and exciting ways. Read on to explore this year’s highlights and look out for some of these features coming to fruition in the coming months (if they haven’t already)!

#1 All-About-The-Customer Hack

What happens when members of our supply chain, design, and customer support teams get together? They develop amazingly thoughtful ways to turn around less than ideal customer experiences. Operation ‘Customer Win-Back’ includes fun incentives like surprise gifts and special (free) e-learning bundles designed to soothe the frustration of unavoidable shipping delays and product issues. Because as we say: happy customers, happy Stack.

coding

#2 ‘Your Wish Is Our Command’ Sales Hack

At StackCommerce, curation is king. We excel at matching our publisher partners with products that their readers will actually like. But in typical Stack fashion, we believe we can always do better. Some of our rockstar Sales reps came together and built a system that would tell them exactly what products our partner audiences are talking about. By swiftly scanning the comments sections and most-viewed articles, we can better serve our partners with great deals on extremely relevant products.

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#3 Efficiency Hack

One unique aspect of working with StackCommerce is our ability to enhance our partners’ earnings with paid advertising. Known as Amplify and Momentum, these programs help our publishers and brands capitalize on high-converting commerce posts and videos with strategic spend and top-notch management. Together, the best minds in marketing, business development, and data science were able to hack together a tool that sets up paid campaigns faster than ever. Efficiency for us equals more money for our partners. Win, win.

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#4 Storytelling-in-Action: Hack Day Winner!

Let’s face it. Facebook is the new front door to the internet and this fact has huge ramifications for online publishers and advertisers. Native Social Video is a new product at StackCommerce and allows our publisher partners to use Facebook video to generate incremental revenue streams outside of homepage traffic. This year’s Hack Day winner spent the day simplifying the video request process and recruiting the best social video editing talent in the game. The future is video, and this year’s Hack Day echoed that sentiment loud and clear.