DoubleClick Expects Ad Count to Double Every 6 Months

New York City ad network DoubleClick Inc. expects to double the number of ads it places online every six months and sees the growth of advertising-supported free personal computers and services driving its business, according to published reports.

The New York company placed 5.3 billion advertisements online in the fourth quarter, and expects that number to grow to 20 billion by the fourth quarter of 1999 and 80 billion by the final quarter of 2000, Reuters reported.

“We feel confident in 1999 and 2000 we can keep up this pace,” Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Epstein told investors at the Goldman Sachs Technology Symposium in New York.

The debut of online advertising-supported free PC’s with free Internet access should prove a boon to DoubleClick, Chief Executive Kevin O’Connor said in an interview after the investor presentation.

“I think it will change the economy of the Net,” O’Connor told Reuters. “Consumers have a choice, either to pay subscriptions or get it for free with advertisements. They’re always going to pick ads.”

Idealab!, the investment vehicle of venture capitalist Bill Gross, recently introduced Free-PC Inc., a company that plans to offer consumers Compaq computers, Internet access and electronic mail all for free in exchange for viewing highly targeted advertising.

The company is still on target to become profitable in the second or third quarter of 2000, Goldman Sachs analyst Michael Parekh told investors.

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