The History of Outspoken Media


Outspoken Media was born in January 2009 and grew from a personal need to be “outspoken” in an industry filled with confusion and uncertainty. Working in an innovative, digital world that changes constantly, it was common to watch organizations feel out-of-touch and fearful. Worse, the health of those businesses and the teams behind them were often jeopardized by aggressive marketing tactics for quick financial gain. We could no longer play a part in that system; we wanted to find honest solutions to challenging problems while never having to compromise what we stood for or how we said it. Additionally, we wanted to be more selective about the clients we worked with, the team we worked beside, and the quality and responsibility of the work we put into the world.

Outspoken Media Company Timeline


  • February 5, 2009 – Wall Street Journal “outs” Outspoken in an article on reputation management
  • February 9, 2009 – OutspokenMedia.com is christened with its first blog post
  • February 10, 2009 – Outspoken’s First Search Marketing Expo conference attendance and liveblog coverage
  • March 15, 2010 – Rhea Drysdale wins SEO trademark registration battle protecting use of “SEO”
  • December 2010 – CEO resignation
  • December 2011 – Outspoken Media moves into its first dedicated office space
  • April 2012 – Remaining partner resignation
  • October 2012 – Outspoken Media launches a new brand, new website, and a beautiful, new office
  • 2014 – Doubled team size and revenue by focusing on internal growth and existing client development
  • August 2015 – Outspoken Media signs a lease on a larger office in downtown Troy
  • October 2015 – Outspoken Media launches its new website

Our Story


As quickly as the founding partners came together, the Wall Street Journal published a story that would catapult the company’s brand onto a national stage. With so much initial work and recognition, the boutique internet marketing agency quickly gained notoriety as one of the industry’s best SEO companies, best SEO blogs, and boldest teams.

For the first two years the business grew, but the next year brought difficult times for the partners who sought different paths. After two of the founding three partners resigned a year apart, COO, Rhea Drysdale, became CEO and fought for the continued momentum of the company, the team behind it, and the vision before them. More importantly, she knew she owed it to her loyal team members to push forward for their commitment to the brand, each other, and their clients. With her work far from done, Rhea realized she wanted more for Outspoken Media—more professionalism, more transparency, more trust, more experience, more perspective, more strategy, and more results.

In its fourth year, Outspoken Media, rebranded, found a new home, a new website, and new team. The physical changes rolled down to our clients who grew as well. Our services became less vendor-based and more of a partnership. We began to understand that we were true consultants to our clients, working to help them realize their potential and grow to that level.

Since that time, the team has doubled in size and revenue. We’ve worked with exceptional clients and their teams to create innovative, beautiful, and effective digital marketing campaigns. We protected brands and helped them rebuild if they came to us broken and bruised. As we worked with our clients and each other, we began to find our voice. We knew we’d never be the Outspoken Media the industry loved to watch in the beginning, but we could be the agency they turned to for trusted advice and an experienced perspective.

We embraced what made us unique and began to hire for it. We found team members who complimented each other and gave clients access to new ideas. We had fun and we made things we were proud of.

When we look back on the past six years, we know we’ve achieved great things. We are among the most highly-regarded agencies in the SEO industry, nationally and internationally. We’ve developed successful digital marketing strategies for a diverse slate of brands, including 1-800-PetMeds, Exelon Energy, Providecommerce, 1800Contacts.com, University of Rochester’s Medical Center, CDPHP, and more. And, we’ve built guides and strategies that continue to shape the work and minds of the industry.

Finally, in January 2015, the company felt like it had achieved something great. It was time to think bigger. We needed to ensure that our services reflected the capabilities of our talented team and addressed the needs of our favorite clients. The team thought about what this looked like (just as we do with our own clients) and we realized that our message wasn’t being heard. We had a successful agency due to the quality of our work and word of mouth, but we needed to reach others as well. We wanted YOU to find us. So, we got to work and as a team, we created the company we wanted to work for, not settling for the company we’d always been.

Today we know who we are, we know who we want to work with, and we know where we’re going. If you’d like to learn more about us and our services, please do so. And, when you’re ready, let us know if you’re interested in working together or just say hello.

Bringing History to Our History: The Story of Charles Nalle


With the pending December 2015 move to our largest office space, we’ll not only be making Outspoken Media history, but working in an incredible, historical location in downtown Troy.

Charles Nalle was a fugitive slave who escaped to the area in 1860 seeking his freedom. New York’s capital region had many supporters of John Brown and significant support for the Underground Railroad. Troy itself had an active vigilance committee and a small, but significant community of African descendants.

Nalle was captured in the 5 State Street building under the Fugitive Slave Act, and held in a cell in the basement. Harriet Tubman – who just happened to be visiting Troy – got wind of the situation and rushed to the scene.

Nalle was freed by the intervention of Tubman and the Vigilance Committee! He escaped to Niskayuna where he stayed in a secret location until it was regarded as safe for his return to Troy. Ultimately, money was raised to buy his freedom for $650. This did not happen however, until his fourth liberation, making him the only person to be freed from slavery four times.

A plaque on the 5 State Street building marks the spot where citizens of the Collar City forcibly freed Charles Nalle from custody.