Post-MeziMedia acquisition: ValueClick lead-gen in danger

August 2, 2007

ValueClick Q2 earnings reports came in lower than expected two days ago, largely due to their lead-gen biz losing $10mm.  On the conference call, the company said that they’re looking  reduce costs on the  lead gen side.

Part of the problem, the company said, has been the FTC investigation into the lead gen industry and  how ValueClick in particular drives traffic to their promotional sites, specifically with the use of email.  As of now, they’re operating the same they’ve always been.

Digging deeper, ValueClick says they’ve seen “publisher fallout” as a result of the FTC investigation of CAN-SPAM practices — fear of being related to the investigations, which has left ValueClick with an inability to meet advertiser demand.  Because of that, advertisers have been said to go elsewhere.

Its interesting, though, that the company seeks to cut $7MM in costs on the lead gen side.  If the investigation is only temporary, why take these steps?  Is the business truly drying up, or are they in “violation” of CAN-SPAM?

Despite that, ValueClick saw growth in its advertising business — helped by concerns of industry consolidation re: GoogClick, MSN / aQuantive, etc.  If the GoogClick deal goes through, they’ll be the largest freestanding ad-serving tech player.  Currently they’re upping capacity for serving impressions, adding headcount for full-service support and are up 15 percent this year from new business as a result of the mergers.

As for CSE specifics, ValueClick acquired MeziMedia on July 16 and is going to leverage Smarter’s SEM and SEO expertise across all divisions — PriceRunner, which is successful in Europe, will most likely benefit from this, as will monetization across their ad network.

Have any more info?  Let me know at scott.hurff at channeladvisor