Bits & Bytes for May 24, 2004

Monster Acquires Tickle

Monster Worldwide has acquired social network and quiz provider Tickle Inc. in a cash and stock deal valued at over $90 million.

Tickle, formerly Emode.com, will be run as a subsidiary. The company’s founders and management team will remain onboard, as will all 70 of its employees in the U.S. and Europe.

Among Tickle’s online offerings are various career assessment tests, which will contribute to Monster’s career resources and expand its subscriber base, the companies said. Most of Tickle’s revenue comes from consumer subscriptions, with a small portion coming through ad campaigns.

“Monster acquired Tickle for many aspects of the business: our traffic, our viral marketing ability, our direct marketing, our consumer advertising sales revenue, our tests and science to enhance the job search process, and our ability to develop a broad range of consumer-facing products,” said Steven Comfort, Tickle’s VP of sales and marketing.

The transaction consisted of a million shares of Monster Worldwide common stock, valued at $24.39 per-share at Monday’s close, plus an initial cash payment of $29.5 million and follow-up payments totaling $40 million, presuming certain financial objectives are met. Tickle has been profitable since mid-2002.


Burst! Adds Behavioral Targeting From Tacoda

Online ad network Burst! Media will use the ASP version of Tacoda’s Audience Management System (AMS) to deliver campaigns based on the anonymous surfing behavior of its 40 million unique users.

Implementing behavior-based targeting across a whole network is suddenly a very popular concept. Tacoda is developing a behavioral targeting network of its own. Its selection by Burst! comes as sponsored links provider Kanoodle prepares to do the same. Until now, most publishers implemented such technologies on a site-by-site basis, although Tacoda says a number of its clients use AMS across multiple sites.

“When you have a total audience the size of Burst’s, the more you know about your users, the better you can serve them ads that they want to see. Better targeted ads means higher click-throughs and sales for our advertisers,” said Burst! President and CEO Jarvis Coffin.


YellowPages.com Rolls Out PPC Platform

YellowPages.com struck a deal with Interchange Corp. to offer PPC local advertising via the latter company’s Local Direct search platform.

YellowPages.com’s newly launched service, Ypclicks!, uses Interchange’s Keyword DNA local search technology and its Paid-Search Plus bidding platform to let customers create and manage cost-per-click campaigns.

Early advertisers to pay for the service will include users of Interchange’s ePilot ad network, whose paid listings will appear on YellowPages.com. The online directory can count on future lead generation to come through distribution of its listings on Interchange’s search network, as is called for in the companies’ agreement.


E-Mail Audit Firm Launches

A new company offers email marketing campaign auditing and delivery validation.

Emerging Audit, a Baltimore, Maryland-based firm, offers the E-mail Delivery Audit, reporting on whether a campaign went out as scheduled, if it reached its target demographic and whether it complied with Spam regulations. The company will also assess an email program’s performance against industry-wide email results.

“The E-mail Delivery Audit is the first email audit tool that is simple to use, compatible with all rich media email marketing, and provides deep knowledge of email marketing delivery to the marketer,” said President Bill Matthews.

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