IAR Bits and Bytes for October 22, 2003

AQuantive Counts Its Cash

Digital marketing technology provider aQuantive, Inc beat its guidance to the street, reporting third-quarter revenue of $58.6 million, a 70 percent increase from the same period last year. Gross profit of $15.0 million was up 48 percent from a year ago, and this was the ninth consecutive quarter of improved performance, with net income coming in at $3.4 million.

Seattle, Wash.-based aQuantive, which owns interactive agencies Avenue A and i-FRONTIER, and also ad technology provider Atlas DMT, predicted that the fourth quarter would bring in revenue of $60 to $65 million, with this year’s full results totting up to a gross profit of $59 to $61 million on revenues of $218 to $223 million.

FindWhat.com Sets Revenue Record

Paid search provider FindWhat.com reported Monday that its third-quarter revenue increased 62 percent over the same quarter last year and was more than $300,000 ahead of its projections. Revenue has grown sequentially for 16 quarters. In light of this growth, the Fort Meyers, Fla.-based FindWhat.com increased its guidance for the remainder of the year.

The company currently offers two performance-based services: the FindWhat.com Network, a keyword-targeted advertisement service that distributes ads based on a bid-for-position, pay-per-click pricing model; and a private label service for portals and search engines.

Chairman and CEO Craig Pisaris-Henderson said that while the core business was growing, the company’s new initiatives would diversify and strengthen the company. FindWhat.com is in the process of acquiring Miva Corp., a supplier of e-commerce software and services. It also signed an agreement to launch a keyword targeted paid listings service in Japan with Mitsui & Co.

In June, FindWhat.com and Espotting Media, the European pay-per-click service, agreed to merge, but the merger is on hold while the companies review Espotting’s historical financial results, including results through September 30, 2003, which have yet to be finalized. Espotting lost a key distribution deal with Ask Jeeves U.K. to Google, and the future of a similar deal with Yahoo Europe looked chancy. FindWhat.com said if Espotting’s numbers don’t look good enough, it would seek to renegotiate terms or back out of the merger.

The company has discontinued reporting active advertiser accounts, paid click-throughs, and average revenue per click-through, saying these were no longer accurate metrics. Instead, it pointed to the increase in its revenue and profits.

Interactive Agora to Go Live

Tholos Systems plans to link urbanites in distant cities through larger-than-life digital screens, then offer them larger-than-life ads. The Vienna, Austria-based company plans to build large cylinders with 360 degree projection surfaces producing panoramic views of a remote environment. For example, a Tholos screen installed in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna might show a live feed of the scene in Picadilly Circus, while Londoners could see what’s going on simultaneously in Vienna.

Thelos technology provides a sense of tele-presence through a 66-meter panoramic digital screen with 20 mega-pixel resolution, a high-performance graphics system that supports text, video and 3-D visualization, and digital audio with directional sound capability.

Tholos plans to install screens in Vienna and London next year to allow direct personal contact among visitors to the Tholos installations. The company said the screens could be used to present cultural performances and media such as film, and that it would create “a so-far unknown promotional effect.”

Advertising is an intended part of the business model. Thelos’ Web site says it will reserve 13 percent of broadcast time for advertising.

Affiliate Network Goes Mainstream

Innovative Ideas International, Ltd., today announced it had re-launched its private network as a full-fledged affiliate network, the Advertising Revenue Service (ARS). Founded in 1996 as the Adult Revenue Service, Las Vegas, Nev.-based ARS is seeking mainstream marketers and retailers to take advantage of its network of some 5,000 affiliate Webmasters generating a reported 70 million unique visits a month.

The company was founded to provide affiliate tracking services for a single large advertiser, Global Intermedia, a provider of Web services for adults-only content.

In July, ARS added XtremeTrax, productivity tools for Webmasters centered on statistical reporting and analysis. Now, the company has decided to make its technology and services available to a wider audience and court mainstream advertisers.

ARS vice president of customer relations and marketing John Valigorsky said that most top producing affiliates manage several Web sites that don’t necessarily focus on X-rated content. The move is designed to offer them affiliate program choices for their PG-rated sites.

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