DoubleClick Snags Stake in Solbright

Web ad leader DoubleClick continued its string of strategic alliances this week, taking a minority stake in workflow automation firm Solbright.

Alley-based Solbright’s AdSuite ASP provides tools for outsourcing order entry, creative approval, trafficking and billing reconciliation. AdSuite for some time has had the capability to work in conjunction with DoubleClick’s ASP solution, DART for Publisher, and its AdServer software product.

The new arrangement, however, brings the two companies much closer. Consistent with its taking a 10 percent stake in Solbright, DoubleClick will refer its clients to the firm for sales, trafficking, and billing systems. So far, the deal applies to North and South America, where Solbright operates; as it expands in the future, DoubleClick will begin referring clients internationally.

“We can provide our customers with a comprehensive end-to-end offering to streamline their entire advertising management process,” said Chris Saridakis, senior vice president of DoubleClick’s Global TechSolutions division. “Partners like Solbright enables them to integrate key business systems, creating increased efficiencies and additional benefits for DoubleClick’s customers.”

Added Solbright president and chief executive Thomas Pace: “The value that this partnership will provide to customers will be enormous. Together, Solbright and DoubleClick can provide a fully integrated solution for online publishers that will become the standard for advertising infrastructure for the industry.”

Current customers of both Solbright and DoubleClick include Terra Lycos, Kelley Blue Book, Red Herring, AccuWeather and American Greetings.

DoubleClick already has an agreement to refer clients to TrafficMac, a New York- and London-based outsourced ads trafficking service. Executives at TrafficMac said DoubleClick gave assurances on Friday that their relationship would remain intact, while DoubleClick spokespeople agreed that the Solbright deal would principally deal with sales and billing automation.

At any rate, the news came less than a day after DoubleClick announced an agreement with Web market researcher Dynamic Logic. As with the Solbright agreement, DoubleClick took a minority stake in the smaller firm in return for integrated access to its reports on campaign effectiveness. That deal also involved DoubleClick selling its Ad Effectiveness research unit, a part of its Diameter division, to Dynamic Logic, which competed with the group.

That move followed DoubleClick’s earlier sale of its European ad network to German rival AdLINK, in return for a 15 percent stake and an ad serving contract.

At the time, executives at DoubleClick said such arrangements were highly advantageous for the company — enabling them to move money-losing businesses off the balance sheet, while profiting in the long-run if their minority-owned specialist partners meet success.

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