Search Optics purchases website rival DigiGo

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Search Optics, a growing provider of dealer websites and digital marketing services, last week said it purchased KPA's DigiGo division, formerly known as TK Carsites. Terms were not disclosed.

In other dealer website news, ADP Dealer Services said it will spin off from parent ADP with the name CDK Global Inc. The dealer software giant expects to become an independent public company by October. It will be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol CDK.

DigiGo provides websites to several hundred dealerships and has expertise in search engine optimization -- using content and links to help customers get top positions on Google and other search engines on the free portion of search pages -- said Christian Fuller, chief relationship officer for Search Optics.

The DigiGo customers will be added to Search Optics' current customer base of about 1,000 dealerships and automakers, Fuller said.

Search Optics has been growing during the past two years on the strength of contracts with Chrysler Group and other automakers that have certified Search Optics as a vendor that dealers can use and be eligible for advertising reimbursement.

Search Optics provides a full line of digital marketing services, including websites, Google advertising, banner ads on online shopping sites and re-targeted ads -- ads that use cookie-tracking code to follow a shopper from a dealer website to other sites.

With the acquisition, Search Optics has about 250 employees, 15 percent of whom came from DigiGo, Fuller said. The company intends to keep the DigiGo name and maintain DigiGo's offices in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Search Optics is based in San Diego, with a major automotive office in suburban Detroit.

ADP Dealer Services' president, Steve Anenen, will be CDK Global's CEO. Anenen, 61, has a 30-year history with ADP and has been president of Dealer Services since 2004.

CDK will operate as Dealer Services did, offering store operating software and marketing products.

"ADP allowed [Dealer Services] to operate with autonomy," ADP spokeswoman Michelle Benko said. "We're the same company, just renamed."

Dealer Services acquired Cobalt Digital Marketing, the "C" in CDK, in 2010. It creates digital marketing products for ADP's dealership clients, including retailer websites.

Kerridge Computer Co., the "K" in CDK, was acquired by Dealer Services in 2005. The acquisition of the U.K.-based company was part of Dealer Services' plan to increase its global presence.

CDK Global will work with more than 26,000 dealer sites, ADP said in a statement. Reynolds and Rey-nolds and ADP are the dominant providers of dealer management software.

Nora Naughton contributed to this report.

You can reach David Barkholz at dbarkholz@crain.com. -- Follow David on Twitter and


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