IAR Bits and Bytes

DoubleClick Seals Protagona Sale

Internet advertising technology provider DoubleClick this week completed the acquisition of Protagona, a United Kingdom-based ad-campaign software company.

DoubleClick inked the $12.9 million deal for Protagona in September, giving it entrie into offline marketing with Protagona’s technology for tracking the channel performance of ad campaigns. With Protagona’s Ensemble, direct marketers have a desktop resource for planning and managing acquisition and retention programs.

DoubleClick said it would continue to sell Ensemble as a standalone product in the near term, while looking into the possibilities of combining it with its email marketing tools and Abacus modeling capabilities.

Last month, DoubleClick reported a $62 million net loss. The company said it would return to profitability in the fourth quarter.

DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan said the general malaise in the online advertising market dragged down the company’s earnings. However, he said DoubleClick saw growth in the markets for marketing automation software and multi-channel marketing products like Protagona.

Google U Opens Its Doors

In the hopes of teaching advertisers the power of keyword advertising, Google has launched Google U, a three-hour workshop on how the company’s cost-per-click advertising can pay off.

The free workshop, slated to run on Nov. 14 in San Jose, hopes to lure potential customers by offering an advertising credit (and light refreshments) for their time. Google instructors will teach students how to design a search-based advertising campaign using Google’s AdWords.

A company spokesman said the workshop is Google’s first, but the company might hold others in the future.

Google has looked to steal the thunder of industry stalwart Overture with its AdWords Select program that allows advertisers to only pay for click-throughs. Google has replaced Overture on AOL, EarthLink and AskJeeves.

Pay-for-performance advertising has already established a solid foothold in the Internet advertising market, accounting for 25 percent of online ad spending this year, according to Jupiter Research, which is a division of internetnews’ parent company. By 2007, pay-for-performance ad spending is forecast to take up 34 percent.

Yahoo Poll Finds Small Businesses Like Net During Holidays

Small business owners are finding the Net a successful place for marketing and sales, according to a poll conducted for Yahoo by Harris Interactive.

In a poll of 252 businesses that were online during last year’s key holiday period, 81 percent said the Net connected them with new customers, while 54 percent said it bumped up their profitability and 61 percent said an Internet presence increased sales by 20 percent or more.

Yahoo released the poll to draw attention to its suite of small-business services, which include online storefronts and marketing services.

“The reason they’re spending time and money is to drive sales,” said Bud Rosenthal, vice president of Yahoo Store. “They had to understand the ROI. They may not call it ROI but they understand it.”

Through a variety of self-service tools, Yahoo allows retailers to easily become virtual businesses. In addition, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based portal giant offers a variety of advertising and marketing services once reserved only for large companies.

Small businesses can use Yahoo’s Ad Manager to purchase keyword advertising, in addition to a program for doing micro ad buys with targeted banners on certain Yahoo network. Typically, Rosenthal said the ad buys were for less than $1,000.

“Think about what that does to level the playing field,” he said.

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