LockerDome And USA Today Forge Strategic Partnership #BOOM

By February 4, 2013

“Hi, I’m Gabe. You’d be smiling too if your team kicked this much ass.”

Any regular reader of Techli knows the LockerDome story- we’ve covered them lots. (Here, here and here and a few other times too).

Just the other day, Jon Friedman over at MarketWatch called Lockerdome, “Facebook on steroids”, and current metrics show that Lockerdome grows in value by 1 million dollars a day. That’s right- EVERY DAY Lockerdome is worth 1 million big fat greenbacks more than it was the day before. Friedman of MarketWatch is right when he says LockerDome is Madison Avenue’s ideal.

Gabe Lozano, Lockerdome’s CEO, is humble about the success but proud of growing the startup in St. Louis. “I think Lockerdome is proof a successful startup can be scaled in St. Louis.”


Today Lockerdome has announced a partnership with USA TODAY that allows USA TODAY (the only paper that has to be in ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME) to sell advertising across LockerDome and as a result LockerDome’s traffic will be included in USA TODAY’s ad offerings. Straight from the press release:

“We’re excited to welcome LockerDome to the USA TODAY Sports family,” said Clay Walker, Vice President of Affiliate Relations for USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties. “LockerDome’s unique social media platform enables us to provide our advertisers with engaged, highly targeted audiences inside LockerDome’s vast—and growing– ecosystem.”

What sets LockerDome apart for publishers is its ability to reach a more engaged, targeted sports audience and increase their overall social media footprint. Since its initial launch, LockerDome has delivered 50% average growth across Facebook and Twitter for its properties in their first 4.5 months. One of its key differentiators is LockerDome’s cross-promotional flexibility, allowing its networks to grow their existing audiences with each other, a service Facebook and Twitter do not currently offer. While contests on other platforms traditionally average the industry standard of 2% – 3%, LockerDome boasts an average landing page conversion of 23%. (*Techli Note: In online advertising, this is a HUGE stat- it blows away the industry average)

I’m not just an annoying reporter, I’m a member.

Fun fact: While LockerDome has now crossed over 8 million unique visitors per month, the really interesting number is how many total pageviews the site has. Lozano is still tight lipped about total pageview numbers, and for good reason. With major media harassing him about an IPO, Madison Avenue starting to flirt with him and buzzing flies like me asking the same question over and over, Lozano knows when to release stats like that. As a startup guy (and veteran of the online ad game), I’m dying to know- because I can start calculating profits pretty quickly with those numbers, and Lozano knows it. It has gotten to be a sad exercise in futility for this writer, as I’ve now resorted to trying to trip him up in conversation in exchanges like this:

EVD: “So Gabe, how’s the wife? How’s things?”

Lozano: “She’s good, thanks for asking. Life is great- the team here is firing on all cylinders. It’s nice we can discuss stuff other than business sometimes. Your Christmas party was fun.”

EVD: “Cool. So how many pageviews did you say LockerDome has now?”

Lozano: (crickets chirp, Lozano frowns)

EVD: “Did I say your wife is cool?”

Lozano: “Get out.”

For fun, let’s take some data from another successful sports site, BleacherReport and play Amazing Domain, Prognosticator of Profits (Internet- just so I am clear, these are all my projections only- until Lozano starts revealing the things I keep trying to find out, all we have is my brainpan) Bleacher Report claims it gets 12 million monthly unique visitors and those visitors view 813 million total pages per month, or approximately 68 pageviews per visitor.

Let’s play conservative and pretend that LockerDome freezes and never adds another visitor and they aren’t growing at a warp speed. If the 8M LockerDome visitors each viewed 68 pages, LockerDome’s total pageviews would be 542 Million per month.

Let’s assume USA TODAY was smart when they made this deal and didn’t play hardball- with the size of LockerDome and their rate of growth, LockerDome likely struck a good deal- so let’s assume that USA TODAY is paying a $10 CPM average of all ads served on the LockerDome network per visitor. (CPM stands for cost per thousand- the ‘m’ is the Roman numeral for 1,000 and CPM means “This ad makes (x) dollars for every 1,000 people that see it.”)

Let’s also assume that USA TODAY sells 20% of the available 542M page inventory on LokcerDome at a $10 CPM- that means LockerDome would be earning a little over $1,080,000 per month. Since their value is climbing at over 1 million dollars per day, my projections are clearly WAY too low. If USA TODAY sells more of that inventory, the dollars just keep climbing.

Stay tuned to Techli here- we’ll be running a special on LockerDome soon exploring the inner workings of the team and their growth. St. Louis’ hottest startup is on the path to superstardom, and Lozano is equally as coy about an exit as he is about revealing the pageview totals.

EVD: “Hey Gabe, how are you? How’s the wife?”

Lozano (frowning): “Oh hey. Domain. Good to see you. Again. So soon. Wife is good, life is good. The guys just got done kicking ass on a 20 hour straight coding session and we’re heading out to breakfast before getting back to work.”

EVD: “Cool. So, what will your exit be? IPO? Acquisition? How much longer do you think you’d want to go until an exit?”

Lozano: “I’m not focused on money or an exit. I’m focused on building the best company I can and returning the maximum value to our investors that I can.”

EVD: “Yeah, cool. But…um, c’mon. What’s the magic number for you? When do you say it’s time? You can tell me.”

Lozano: “I’m serious- I just want to build the best company I can. That is what motivates me. Whatever provides the maximum value to the investors that put their faith in me.”

EVD: “Cool. How many pageviews a month does LockerDome have now anyway?”

Lozano: ….

EVD: “I’ll show myself out, thanks.”