IAR Bits and Bytes

Online Ad Players Post Promising Results

As the latest group of online advertising companies made their numbers known on Thursday, ValueClick, L90, LookSmart and Sapient all met or exceeded Wall Street estimates.

Westlake Village, Calif.-based ValueClick posted a pro forma loss of $529,000, or $0.01 per share, on $9.7 million in revenue.

Los Angeles’ L90 saw a pro forma loss of $5.3 million, or $0.22 per share. The company took in revenues of $9 million, or $12.7 million according to so-called “system revenue” accounting, which is not recognized under generally accepted accounting principles. GAAP revenue had declined $800,000 from last quarter; system revenue increased from $10.6 million.

(The difference has to do with the way in which L90 recognizes revenue from publishers for whom it resells inventory. While GAAP procedures are more stringent, L90 maintains that system accounting — which includes the total amount billed to advertisers, not just money made in service fees for acting as a reseller agent — better reflects the company’s actual performance.)

Both ValueClick and L90 met analysts’ consensus for earnings, according to Thomson Financial/First Call estimates.

On the other hand, pay-for-placement search engine LookSmart posted a loss of $3.6 million, or $0.04 per share — topping Wall Street’s estimates of a $0.06 per share loss. The company also reported revenues of $18.4 million, down from first quarter’s $20.4 million.

Earlier this week, LookSmart competitor GoTo.com also beat Wall Street’s estimates, reaching breakeven ahead of schedule.

Also on Thursday, systems integrator and interactive shop Sapient met analysts’ estimates of a quarterly loss of $0.07 per share, or $8.4 million. Revenue in the quarter fell to $87.3 million, down from $109.1 million last quarter.

BuyMedia Teams with MediaPlex’s AdWare

Online media buying technology play BuyMedia aims to expand its services through a partnership with AdWare Systems, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based MediaPlex.

Through the agreement, the ad-booking systems of AdWare and BuyMedia will share information. AdWare, which is headquartered in Louisville, Ky., handles invoices, orders and avails for buyers of local broadcast, cable and radio. BuyMedia, likewise, offers ways for sellers to present invoices to ad buyers, in addition to providing tools to radio stations and broadcasters to mange ad inventory.

The deal will bring together BuyMedia’s online invoice presentment service, BuyMedia.com, with AdWare’s Broadcast and Spot ASP practice, which each allow media buyers to plan, track and execute media buys.

“We are excited to partner with AdWare to extend the proven benefits of BuyMedia.com to their AdWare Broadcast/Spot clients,” said BuyMedia vice president of development Bob Winters. “Together, AdWare and BuyMedia connect buyers and sellers enabling them to conduct their business electronically.”

DoubleClick Cuts, As Promised

Alley-based online ad network DoubleClick carried out some of its planned layoffs this week. Sources close to the company report a combination of layoffs and voluntary resignations of numbers ranging from 100 to about 150.

Sources said the cuts came primarily from the company’s technology units, rather than its media division.

It’s likely that the company’s recent string of acquisitions played a role in this round of cuts. Last quarter, the company offered to buy MessageMedia and closed the acquisition of FloNetworks, for instance — actions that impacted the firm’s existing email technology group, one of the areas sources said were affected by the new round of layoffs.

Additionally, chief executive Kevin Ryan warned during the company’s second quarter conference call that the firm would undertake headcount reductions in conjunction with recent acquisition activity.

The cuts are the latest in the industry leader’s sporadic headcount reductions. In March, the company eliminated about 10 percent of its more than 2,000 positions in a restructuring of its Media division. Earlier cuts came from the company’s regional presences in Latin America and Australia.

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