Press Release

ValueCommerce Acquires Majority of Sozon KK Shares

ValueCommerce Co., Ltd.

ValueCommerce Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, President & CEO: Brian Nelson) has acquired a majority stake in the Online Marketing firm Sozon Inc. (Headquarters: Chuo-ku, Tokyo, CEO: Amir Ayalon,) for an undisclosed cash amount effective October 31, 2005, making it the company’s largest shareholder as of yesterday.. . Sozon Inc. will continue to operate as an independent company from its Kyobashi offices under the same management, with plans in December to relocate to a larger premises in Ginza.

Search Engines ranked number one for information access in the Impress Whitepaper survey of over 1,477 internet advertisers. According to the Enquiro EyeTracker Study, March 2005, 70% of searchers eye’s are focused on Natural Search listings. The estimated market size for SEO in 2006 is in the billions of Yen.

Affiliate Marketing, Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization are the three core components of online marketing campaigns. This deal enables ValueCommerce to offer these three core services to their Ecommerce clients and affiliate network.

Sozon Inc. has developed a suit of innovative technology and sales tools that turn SEO into a science versus an art form. This automated approach has enabled Sozon to quickly scale and build a suit of ASP Search Engine Optimization and textual link advertising tools. Tools that ValueCommerce will be able to make available to its network of Affiliates, empowering affiliates to get better positioned in the major search engines and increasing Ecommerce sales and traffic across the network.

Brian Nelson, President and CEO of ValueCommerce, comments: “The SEM market in Japan has been booming and the SEO market is in many ways even more important for online marketers. With search engines and competitors frequently changing the way their engines work or their sites are designed it has become very challenging for companies to retain good search engine positioning based on traditional manual SEO techniques. Sozon has taken an automated and scientific approach to SEO and can track a clients ranking in the search engines and any movement versus their competitors. Their services are incredibly valuable to online marketers serious about consistently ranking well and above key competitors. Their tools for advertisers and web publishers will have multiple benefits for all ValueCommerce`s EC and Affiliate partners.”

Sozon K.K. CEO, Amir Ayalon comments: “At Sozon, our goal since inception has been to generate meaningful and measurable results for our clients that have a positive impact on their bottom line. Effective SEO that is precise, requires a high level of automated technology to analyze search engine algorithms and client web sites in real time. With ValueCommerce as our major shareholder we see tremendous potential to increase value to both web site owners as well as online advertisers and we are very excited to team up with ValueCommerce to collaborate on new and effective ways to generate business for our valued customers, in addition to working with ValueCommerce to enhance their position as Japans number 1 affilliate marketing company.”

[ Sozon K.K. ]
Sozon, an abbreviation for “Strategic Optimization Zone,” was founded in 2003 and took off with the launch of Japan’s first SEO software solution (SeoSpy™) in October of that year. Our mission is clear, “to generate meaningful and measurable results for our clients that have a positive impact on their bottom line”. In an increasingly challenging market and with a strong focus on technology, Sozon has maintained a strong lead offering several unique services such as Spidermatic™ (a search engine spider tracker), Adstack™ (a textual advertising solution) and a diverse range of proprietary analysis systems used exclusively for SEO Consulting services. Sozon currently has more SEO experts under one roof than any other company in Japan going from three to over 30 staff in only two years, and currently optimizing more than 100 web sites per month.

[ ValueCommerce ]
Founded in 1996 as one of the first hosting and domain resellers in Japan, ValueCommerce launched Japan’s first ASP Affiliate Marketing platform and service in 1999. Today, ValueCommerce provides E-commerce and online marketing services in 3 major business divisions: Affiliate Marketing, Directory/Search, and Hosting/Infrastructure. For the affiliate marketing business, ValueCommerce is serving one of the largest affiliate marketing networks in Japan delivering over 400 million advertisements per day and reaching up to 50% of the Japanese Internet population (Nielsen/NetRatings “Advertisement distribution (BTC)”).

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