Though DigitalTown didn’t specify which assets it was buying from the firm, the company noted in a press release that the deal will help users find lawyers, schedule consultations and meet with them via online video. It’s a move that aligns closely with DigitalTown’s strategy, which is to bring in people who are searching for goods and services to use their locally-focused websites rather than go to geographically unbounded tools like Amazon and Google.
DigitalTown already owns more than 1,600 such Web domains focused specifically on legal services — all ending with a .Law extension.
“The Congo team has built a robust platform for managing online services procurement,” DigitalTown Chief Executive Officer Rob Monster said in the statement. “Service platforms like Angie's List, Houzz, Porch, ServiceMaster and Thumbtack attempt to lump all service provider discovery in one bucket. Niche platforms like Avvo and ZocDoc cater to specific niches. DigitalTown is using the new web extensions such as .Law, .Shop, .City and more to put the consumer at the center of the experience in a way that is intuitive, personalized, real-time and secure through an integrated network of digital portals that cater to specific geo-targeted verticals and which can be operated in cooperation with local partners.”
The company expects the transaction to close in December. It’s also hiring Congo’s chief technology officer, Frank Robles, as vice president of global operations and president of the company’s new Service Provider Business Division.
The Congo deal is DigitalTown’s sixth corporate acquisition since Monster took the helm in mid-2015, according to the company’s most recent quarterly statement. In addition to Congo’s assets, DigitalTown has scooped up:
DigitalTown also recently embarked on a new monetization scheme for its portal fleet, setting up a structure where citizens, organizations and third parties can buy “shares” of local websites in order to receive portions of transaction commissions. The company is shopping the idea to cities, who could buy 100 percent of the shares in their local site and then receive the commissions as a revenue stream.
The company didn't disclose the terms of the Congo deal.