DoubleClick Acquires Web Promotions Start-Up

In an effort to patch a hole in its list of offerings, DoubleClick Inc. on Wednesday acquired 60 percent of Flashbase Inc., a start-up that offers a Web solution for the design and management of online sweepstakes.

DoubleClick will complete the acquisition next month. Financial terms were not disclosed.

DoubleClick has lately moved to acquire or create divisions in areas where it didn’t yet have service or technology offerings. Its competitors — L90, RealMedia, and 24/7 Media — have all added promotions and sweepstakes to their capabilities.

DoubleClick has already re-branded Flashbase as DoubleClick Sweepstakes and is using the Flashbase technology to provide marketing professionals with online tools to design and manage customized sweepstakes. The results of the sweepstakes are available to marketers in real-time. In addition, integrated direct marketing tools allow clients to launch targeted, permission-based email campaigns to entrants and track the response rates.

“We are excited to become part of the DoubleClick family,” Andrew Erlichson, president and chief executive officer of Flashbase, said in a statement.

“DoubleClick will provide the media and technology distribution engine to accelerate the adoption of Flashbase’s sweepstakes and direct marketing products.”

Founded last year by Erlichson, a Stanford Ph.D, and partner Mark Heinrich, Flashbase began life as an application service provider offering Web-based database forms for surfers to use for anything from invitations to Web publishing. Funded by Bob Lessin’s Dawntreader LP early stage investment fund, Flashbase changed gears this past February, deciding to use its database technology to generate out-of-the-box custom sweepstakes for Web sites.

That plan called for Flashbase to create and run contests for the companies, charging either a straight $5,000 fee if the user administers the custom sweepstakes site, or a higher consulting fee if Flashbase’s team created the contest. The company also planned to expand its functionality to other verticals.

No word yet on what other plans DoubleClick has for the technology. But for now DoubleClick will use Flashbase-powered sweepstakes as part of its media offerings.

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