XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO), formerly The Knot Inc., is a media company that publishes multi-media content for couples who are planning weddings, moving in together, and having their child. The company generates revenue through online advertising, merchandising, registry services, and publishing. The company headquarters are located in New York City, with offices in several locations in the US and in China.
David Liu and his wife Carley Roney and his business partners, Rob Fassino, and Michael Wolfson founded The Knot Inc. in 1996. They found that the internet would facilitate and reduce anxiety in the process of wedding planning between couples. After the startup received seed financing from AOL, the partners launched The Knot brand as a portal on AOL. In 1997, TheKnot.com launched on the internet.
Next, the company launched an online gift registry in partnership with QVC and published its first book, The Knot Complete Guide to Weddings in the Real World. In December 1999, the company raised $35 million in an initial public offering.
In 2001 it acquired WeddingPages, Inc., a publisher of regional bridal magazines, to expand its magazine offerings to local markets. Today, The Knot publishes regional magazines in 17 markets in the US. Online, the company hosts wedding vendor listings in its online directories.
In 2004, the company launched a television series, Real Weddings from The Knot, on the Oxygen Network, and in 2005 it launched a streaming online video channel, The Knot TV, that runs on TheKnot.com. In 2009, the company launched a wedding planning show, called The Knot LIVE, which streams in real time to TheKnot.com from its New York City headquarters once a week.
In April 2005, the company became listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market with the ticker symbol "KNOT".
The Nest brand launched in 2005 with a website, and a magazine followed in 2006. The brand serves cohabitating couples and newlyweds with lifestyle content about home décor, finance, making dinner, and getting along. The brand also has two books in print, The Nest Newlywed Handbook and The Nest Home Décor Handbook.
In 2005, The Knot created a CD of wedding music called "The Knot Collection of Ceremony & Wedding Music." The Company also partnered with American Express to offer a co-branded rewards card for The Knot and The Nest.
In 2006 the company acquired WeddingChannel.com, consolidating the bridal media industry. The Knot Wedding Network, which includes TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, reaches 8 in 10 US brides every year.
In 2008, the company launched TheBump.com to serve couples planning for their first child. The Bump Pregnancy Guides feature pregnancy-related content and local pregnancy & baby resources in a pocket-sized magazine distributed through OBGYN offices in 14 US markets.
In May 2012, the company overhauled its "community forums" for TheNest.com. TheNest.com's daily page views subsequently dropped. Also in 2012, the company launched theblush.com, which is a lifestyle and beauty website.
David Liu is the cofounder and CEO of XO Group Inc. He gained his bachelor's degree in Television and Film at New York University, and lives with his wife and three children in Brooklyn, New York. During the nine years before starting up the The Knot, Mr Liu has been engaged in the production and management of digitized industry. In 1993, he had set up RunTime, a company which specialized on the development and production of CD-ROM. The Smithsonian Institution, Intel, AT&T and many other well-known institutions have been their clients. In 1996, David Liu, his wife Carley Roney and a number of business partners found the marriage process frustrating, the magazine's content obsolete and wedding message scarce, so they predicted the perfect solution would be making advantages of the Internet technologies. In this way, they devoted themselves to building a brand new wedding media brand, to overturn the old model of the nation's $70 billion wedding market, and invited thousands of professionals in the nation, provided full-time online consultation and recommendations of the whole wedding process, creating an effective and influential network of interactive community to fulfill the modern couples' needs.
Through Liu's endeavor of developing and implementing a multi-step innovation strategy and several rounds of financing, XO Group, started as an Internet company, has transformed into a wedding and lifestyle media leader with millions of assets. Under his leadership, not only did the company's brand business and services successfully expand from wedding ceremony to sexual relations, maternal and child early education and other areas, but also did they trumphantly accomplish acquisition of competitor WeddingChannel company, completing the integration of the two giants of the network wedding services business.
In addition, XO Group has extended its brand from online services to offline areas, including the launch of a series of magazines, books, television programs as well as setting up strong sales team to deliver gift registry services, online wedding supplies and physical store sales. Liu also played an extraordinary role to pioneer the Internet full streaming video program - TheKnot TV.
In 2008, Liu was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Award.
Carley Roney is the co-founder and Editor In Chief of XO Group Inc. She met David Liu at New York University when they were both college students in the Department of Film and Television of Tisch College in 1992 and got married in 1996. Before starting The Knot, Carley served as president of RunTime Co., Ltd., and before that, Carley is a creative director and editor, her clients include the National Museum of American History, The McGraw-Hill Companies, and Simon & Schuster. Carley also holds a Master of Fine Arts of Cultural Studies at New York University.
When planning their own wedding, Carley was feeling bruised and battered. Then she and her husband, David Liu and two other friends founded The Knot web site in 1996, and since then has been committed to using emerging Internet technologies to improve the wedding planning process. The website provides massive wedding fashion creative and trendy, highly practical advice to prospective new people to lift the worries.
Carley has applied her experience and knowledge accumulated in the media sector over the years into the field of magazine publishing and new media arena. She led her team to the creation of the website The Nest targeted at newlywed couple, the website The Bump for new parents, and integrated the well-known marital affairs website WeddingChannel and other brands into the XO Group multimedia products.
Carley is often invited to deliver speeches in a number of industry events, and is the frequent guest of the American television program, including Oprah Winfrey's talk shows, ABC's "The View", NBC "The Today Show" and CBS's "The Early Show" . She is contributor to a bunch of leading publications in USA, such as the "New York Times", "Wall Street Journal," "USA Today", "Glamour", "Vogue", "Elle" and "Self" and so on. Her popular column "Ask Carley" is published by over 70 newspapers under the Scripps Howard News Service agencies at the same time.
In 2008, Carley was awarded the "Crain's New York Forty Under 40" by Klein Business Week.
Products and services
XO Group Inc. publishes wedding planning, nesting, and baby related content on multiple media platforms.
- Sitecore, Site of the Year 2009, TheKnot.com
- Ernst & Young, Metro New York Entrepreneur of the Year 2008, David Liu
- Time.com, Best 100 Lifestyle Sites 2008, TheNest.com
- Fortune Small Business, Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies of 2007 & 2006
- Crain’s, Forty Under 40 2008, Carley Roney
- NYU Tisch, Big Apple Award for Distinguished Alumni Achievements 2008, David Liu & Carley Roney
- Min, Best of Digital Media Award 2008, Marketing Campaign: The Nest Marriage Invaders Game
- Webby Award, The Knot.com
- Forbes, Best of the Web, TheKnot.com
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