Following in the footsteps of other firms in need of a post-investigation makeover, AzoogleAds is changing its name. The company has altered its corporate name to Epic Advertising, but will continue to employ the name AzoogleAds for its performance-based ad network.
The move essentially establishes a parent company name under which AzoogleAds and the firm’s SEM management service, Bazaar Advertising, will be sold. “As of tomorrow, the entire company, executive team and sales team will all be Epic Advertising employees,” said CMO Michael Sprouse, adding, “We actually have been thinking about a name change for some time.”
The company also aims to ramp up its overseas expansion, and hopes consolidation under the new moniker aids that process by clarifying its business offerings. It recently aligned with London’s 77Agency and Israel-based AdsMarket to build out international ad inventory in its network. “AzoogleAds is also a distribution arm; we really wanted to have a brand that sits above our distribution arm,” said Sprouse.
Regarding the new partnerships, he continued, “We plan to replicate that model through Europe or whatever countries we end up doing business in.” The firm will also launch a platform allowing small and medium-sized businesses to create targeted display, search, and coupon ads sold on a performance-basis.
AzoogleAds was investigated by Florida’s CyberFraud Task Force for unfair and deceptive trade practices relating to online ringtone offers. It agreed in November 2007 to pay the division $1 million. Investigators claimed consumers responding to the firm’s Web ads for free mobile ringtones often ended up unwittingly registering for subscription plans automatically billed to their mobile phone accounts. The agreement with the Sunshine State requires Azoogle to disclose the true cost of promotions advertised as “free.”
Since settling with Florida, the company has indicated a willingness to help clean up the mobile content promotions sector, and told ClickZ News it has been in contact with Truste and the Mobile Marketing Association regarding establishing best practices for ads and promotions pushing ringtones, wallpapers, and other mobile goodies. The company has also assisted the Florida AG’s office in further investigations into companies accused of fraudulent online advertising.
Other online ad firms that have come under regulatory fire have made name changes, particularly those accused of distributing spyware. In 2003, Gator Corporation became Claria Corporation, attributing the brand shift to an expansion of its product offerings. 180solutions, another adware firm accused of deceptive practices, became Zango after merging with Hotbar, a firm providing ad-supported applications.
The new Epic title enables clients to do business with Epic, rather than AzoogleAds; however, Sprouse said, “We’re not running from any past.” If Epic wanted to rid itself of its history as AzoogleAds, he suggestes, “We probably would have done away with the Azoogle name completely.”
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