The technology whiz who has done everything from developing software for Intel to launching an online Spanish dating service is making digital marketing accessible to everyone.
Born in Glendale, California, Robert Blankenship was on the ground floor of the internet, and perhaps that was destiny. A maternal assist helped. “I was always really good at math,” he remembers. “I was a 4.4-GPA student in high school, and I was always self-driven: I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 16. When it was time to go to college, I said to my mom, ‘I’m really good at math—maybe I should become a CPA.’ She said, ‘No, you need to get into this thing called computers.’ I always remember that it was funny, the way she put it.”
That path sounded interesting to Blankenship, so he signed up for the computer science program at University of California at San Diego: “I fell in love with it immediately. I became a civilian software engineer, part time, for the Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton, and that paid for my school and books. It was amazing.” Quite the origin story. Flash forward a few decades and the founder and CEO of WebFindYou, who had moved to South Florida in 2006, shares his view of today’s digital landscape with SFBW.
“I started my first web development company back in 1997. At the time I remember thinking that everyone needs a website, but at that point it was like pulling teeth to get them to do that. So I’ve been in development since the beginning of the internet. It started with WordPress, sort of a blogging platform, and it turned into a content management system. And then you would add on all these different services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, or a customer relationship manager like HubSpot.
The problem is integrating all these things and then it becomes really complex. And social media platforms have come and gone, so it’s tough to keep up with everything when you’re trying to grow your business, especially in times like the pandemic.
People have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to digital marketing. Most companies have had bad experiences—a lot of overpromising and underdelivering. Companies, agencies, freelancers—they hear about some class they can take and essentially it’s going to lead them to the promised land. They spend $1,000 on that and it does nothing. Or they build a website and expect it’s going to show up on search engines and it doesn’t work, so they need to go out and get search engine optimization, and they find that it’s quite costly.
WebFindYou greatly simplifies the entire process. It’s one integrated technology, all our own technology. We built it all from scratch. We have 11 years in this—we’re like the summation of multiple different companies rolled up into one. One of my biggest goals was getting to a price point that would be economical for essentially everyone.
I did an extensive study that shows that in the United States, 92 percent of businesses don’t have the proper budget to do traditional marketing, and that’s a sad reality. So that means only the companies with solid revenues do things the right way. With WebFindYou, I decided, I’m going to change the landscape and level the playing field so the small guys can now compete.”