ValueClick Anticipates FTC Fine for Lead Gen Transgressions

Though it’s still in talks with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding alleged lead generation violations, ValueClick now says it anticipates a fine and possible injunction will be laid upon the company.

In presenting the company’s Q3 results, Chief Executive Officer Tom Vadnais said ValueClick reported results in line with revised numbers released October 17, but added the investigation had taken its toll on the company’s lead generation business.

“Our softness in the lead generation part of our media-based business is related to the ongoing FTC investigation,” he said. “Other than our lead generation business, our other businesses have continued to grow.”

In May, Valueclick confirmed it was under investigation for CAN-SPAM Act violations in a Form 8-K filing with the Security Exchange Commission. Vadnais said his company is still waiting to hear from the government agency regarding any potential action.

“Any stipulation with the FTC will provide clearer guidelines for the lead generation industry,” he said. “There’s a lot of ambiguity in what the guidelines are, and the positive outcome of [the FTC investigation]… for the industry will be more clarity.”

Sam Paisley, chief administrative officer, said the lead generation business has stabilized. He said the softness was offset in part by better-than-anticipated results from Valueclick’s Comparison Shopping business.

Revenue for the third quarter of 2007 was $157 million, an increase of $19 million, or 14 percent, over the same period last year. Net income was 16.8 million, matching the year-ago period. Results also included revenues from, which it acquired in December 2006, and MeziMedia, acquired in July 2007.

The company updated its guidelines for the fourth quarter 2007 to anticipate revenues of $172 to 177 million, with full year 2007 revenues of $635 to $640 million, according to Paisley.

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