ValueClick Will Sell O&O Sites, Roll Out DSP

vclk-no-o-oValueClick will sell a bunch of websites as it pours all efforts into upgrading its wheezing display ad infrastructure. The company is also building a DSP, despite earlier claims that clients "wouldn't move to a DSP; there's not enough richness and personalization."

On the block are Investopedia, PriceRunner, Smarter.com, SymptomFind and CouponMountain.com. No word yet on the timeline for unloading these properties, which collectively delivered $28.9 million in Q3 revenues.

"Our planned O&O divestment is an example of our focus on driving the integration process forward and gaining further synergies from our core assets," CEO John Giuliani told investors on the company's Q3 earnings call today.

That integration includes closer alignment between the Dotomi retargeting business and ValueClick's traditional display ad network.  More on that in a moment.

ValueClick's traditional display ad business collapsed by 20% during the quarter, compared to Q3 2012. That pain was offset by growth in "CRM" (Dotomi), mobile, video and cross-device targeting solution.

The upshot: flat quarter. Media segment revenue was $95.3 million, down 1% year-over-year. Affiliate meanwhile delivered 11% growth, to $38.9 million. Read the earnings release.

Giuliani detailed the company's display ad failings, and the remedies in process:

  • ValueClick lacks adequate sales talent. "It would be fair to say we are not where we want to be from a personnel and infrastructure basis," he said. "We've had too much focus on product lines. Where we've gotten traction in video or mobile, we don't have enough sellers selling those." Solution: Make the necessary hires, and "grow the portfolio each seller can sell."
  • ValueClick took too long to build its own demand-side platform. Its dismissal of the opportunity "left a gap in the marketplace," Giuliani said. Solution: time. He says a DSP is now on the product roadmap and will be in the hands of the ValueClick sales force next year.

Additionally, ValueClick will soon merge the disparate streams of demand from Dotomi and its insertion order-based ad network into a single bidding platform. This will allow customers to remove people from their buys who already have converted.

"Traditional display we think still has a meaningful place in the market, primarily if you marry it up with our CRM business for customer acquisition," Giuliani said. "For Dotomi's CRM customers, we're migrating our ad-serving platforms together so we can understand who's a current customer and who's not."

ValueClick will, in the coming months push through a company rebrand, changing its name and aligning its identity with the principle of data-driven personalization. Giuliani argues this vision is already a reality, as the company has become a significant player on the buy side through exchanges and real-time bidding.

"We haven't marketed ourselves well," he said. "We see this as an excellent opportunity but we want to do it right."

 

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