Valueclick spent a lot of time talking up its lead gen business during yesterday’s talk at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in NYC, despite the investigation of that very portion of their operation by the Federal Trade Commission.
Valuecleck is a “significant leader in lead generation,” said the company’s Chief Administrative Officer Sam Paisley.
While he spent most of his time describing various facets of the firm’s services, including affiliate marketing management and ad management, Paisley did hint at what may be a result of its discussions with the FTC. In alluding to its FreeGroceryCard.com site, which offers consumers $100 gift cards in exchange for divulging personal information, he said, “It’s clear to the consumer that this offer is not unconditional, but it’s conditioned on their participation in advertiser programs.”
According to the terms and conditions on FreeGroceryCard.com, “To receive the incentive gift you must: 1) Register with valid information; 2) Complete the user survey; and 3) Complete at least one (1) Silver offer, one (1) Gold offer, and one (1) Platinum offer. Purchase may be required. Please read Terms & Conditions for details. Upon completion of all requirements, we will ship the incentive gift to you with free shipping.”
I don’t know when this notification was added to the site, but if anything, it gives us a glimpse into the type of information that lead gen advertisers might be expected to present (prominently) alongside offers, as a result of the FTC’s ongoing investigation. The commission announced its settlement with Adteractive last week, and the culmination of the Valueclick inspection is anticipated, too.
No one’s sure when though. “We haven’t really talked about any time frame because the Federal government hasn’t been kind enough to share that with us,” said Paisley of the FTC investigation. Still, he added, “We do feel that once we’re clear with the FTC, that [lead gen] business will continue to be a part of our offering.” The company expects a fine that won’t be large enough to affect its balance sheet.
Paisley stressed Valueclick’s lone position as the last independent major ad management platform if Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick goes through (an FTC decision is expected soon). If it is eventually approved here and in Europe, it’s likely that DoubleClick would shed its Performics SEM business, which would create conflicts of interest with its new parent company. In that case, said Paisley in response to a question from the audience, Valueclick would be interested in snapping up Performics.
“We would want to be on the short list of people” considered for the deal, he said.
And more acquisitions could follow. The company wants to “own and control more traffic,” said Paisley, noting it may set its sights on comparison shopping sites. The goal, potentially, would be to use data gathered on such sites for behavioral targeting throughout the Valueclick network.
The firm also expects to continue its expansion into Asia.