Meet iBario: The Israeli Internet Empire That You Probably Never Heard Of

By David Shamah, The Times of Israel May 24, 2014 Comments

Israel’s iBario is a web conglomerate that, over seven years, has grown to be one of the world’s biggest Internet marketing companies, building a top-tier downloading platform, shopping site, recipe site, Internet speed measuring site, question and answer information site and reaching one of Google’s biggest advertising partners, becoming the target of jealousy from other sites which can’t accomplish even one of these tasks.

“We want to build an online empire, and operate everything from Israel,” said Felix Leshno, marketing director and one of the five partner-owners of iBario, a company with a major foothold in many corners of the Internet and an ever-growing base of users and business partners. In the company’s first interview with English-language media, Leshno said that iBario “is building this empire in Israel, and we intend to keep it here.”

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Operating from a modest industrial building in the Tel Aviv suburb of Or Yehuda, iBario is estimated by industry experts to be worth around $100 million. Since it is privately owned and funded and not beholden to investors, it does not publish annual reports and other information about its activities. The figures on the traffic for the websites and advertising networks the company operates is attainable from various web metrics companies, and those figures show that many of iBario’s 16 brands, along with its RevenueHits ad network, are at the top of their categories, said Leshno.

For example, download site Softango is the fourth largest download site in the world, according to iBario figures, with 20-30 million downloads per month. Globally, iBario’s Mayajo recipe site is one of the top in its genre, ranking higher than sites like Recipe.com and BigOven. And Speedanalysis.com, which checks users’ online connection speeds, gets 100 million unique users each month, said Leshno. Other iBario sites include Unknown File, which tells users what program uses which file extension; PC Performer, which analyzes computers and suggests ways of making them run faster; and Jet, iBario’s own browser, notable for its built-in Torrent engine for downloading movies and music.

“Our brands are in three areas — information, downloads and retail,” said Leshno. Special Savings and SeeSimilar, two iBario brands, are in that latter category. With SeeSimilar, users can enter the name of a product, such as “Levi’s button-fly jeans,” and price comparisons will pop up from iBario partner sites, which include nearly all large web retailers, along with similar products, such as Lee and Wrangler jeans, which might appeal to the customer, but are slightly less expensive. Special Savings is a coupon site where typing in that term will yield any number of deals on Levi’s jeans – buy one, get one half-off, for example.

This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission. To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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