Interclick Continues Platform Growth In Q1; Report: Yahoo! Acquires SSP 5:1; Quality RTB Supply Wanted

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Interclick Reports Revenue Surge

Marketing services platform company interclick said that its “revenue was $23.8 million, an increase of 67% year-over-year.” in Q1 2011 (ended 3/31/11). The company also broke a little better than even and saw, “Gross profit margin was 46.7%, versus 44.9% in Q1 2010, due to effective supply chain management and favorable market conditions.” Read the earnings release. The company incurred $700,000 in legal costs associated with the cookie lawsuit filed late last year against the company. The suit has since been dropped. According to Benzinga, Wedbush Securities was bullish on Interclick’s Q1 results writing, “We believe interclick’s competitive advantage translates into increased spending per campaign. We are also encouraged by the addressable market expansion provided by the recently launched video advertising solution and the initial traction it has garnered.” Read more.

Report: Yahoo! To Acquire 5:1

Stealth sell-side platform and former employer of Yahoo! exec Ross Levinsohn, 5:1,  “is likely” to be acquired by Yahoo! for $30 million according to TechCrunch’s Mike Arrington. Arrington quotes a source who says, “5:1 effectively hasn’t launched yet, they’ve been focused on putting together a massive inventory syndicate… Yahoo basically gets to add their own inventory and launch the platform with all of these inventory partners to Yahoo’s existing advertisers.” Read more.

Wanted: Quality RTB Supply

In an opinion piece on MediaPost, [x+1]’s Matt Prohaska says that today’s real-time bidding enabled inventory is not scaling yet for marketers as challenges remain in spite of projected 10-20% growth rates in display. Prohaska points to some interesting trends regarding RTB inventory as he says Huffington Post had been spreading its inventory across five exchanges in Q1 – and thereby inhibiting effective yield management. He adds that the [x+1] team spent “time weeding out examples of impression fraud on more than three different major RTB exchanges.” Read more.

Right Media Exchange Spend

Well, it’s not a dollar figure but it’s something. VP of engineering George Goldenberg makes an announcement on the Right Media blog about new servers being implemented on RMX and says, “The deployment will also help RMX manage increasing growth, especially in markets outside the U.S. Total spend on the exchange grew 23% from Q1 2010 to Q1 2011.” Still growing! Read more. Verified spend figures remain elusive across any of the exchanges or exchange-like entities.

Qualitative Vs. Quantitative

Commenting on the recent Math State and Math Men, angel investor Jerry Neumann tweets about a qualitative versus quantitative debate going on in political science circles illustrated in “Of Quals and Quants” by Drew Baker. He writes, “Qualitative scholars in political science are used to thinking of themselves as under threat from quantitative researchers. Yet qualitative scholars’ responses to quantitative ‘imperialism’ suggest that they misunderstand the nature of that threat.” Man versus machine!Read more.

Targeting Context

Crystal Semantics announced that its semantic targeting technology has been deployed within AppNexus real-time advertising platform. According to the release, “The co-operation enables clients of the AppNexus platform to target campaign relevant content by selecting from Crystal Semantics 3800+ semantic categories to optimize their display advertising campaigns.” Read the release.

GOOG In Trouble With Justice

Google’s management has decided to set aside cash in case the U.S. Justice department requires settlement for still-unnamed violations according to Google’s most recent quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. From the 10Q: “Department of Justice Investigation (Advertising) – In May 2011, in connection with a potential resolution of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice into the use of Google advertising by certain advertisers, we accrued $500 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2011. Although we cannot predict the ultimate outcome of this matter, we believe it will not have a material adverse effect on our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.” See “Subsequent Events” under “Notes To The Financial Statement” in the filing.

Facebook Display “Lead” Pushback

On his Searchblog, John Batelle isn’t buying news about Facebook’s lead in display. After showing a few examples of ads from Google’s search page, he writes, “I am quite sure if you did the analysis against creative as opposed to categorizing ‘search’ as distinct from ‘display,’ the headlines about ‘Facebook taking over from Google’ would surely disappear.” Read more.

Ad Network Adds Commerce

InMobi announced that it was adding a “global payments solution” to its mobile ad network capabilities. Known as InMobi SmartPay, the new service “offers consumers a seamless, pure mobile checkout experience using secure, direct to carrier billing to start,” but will expand to “credit cards, PayPal, and local mobile wallets by the end of the year.” From the mobile publisher’s perspective, inMobi says, “app developers, game companies, and content providers in the (…) mobile content and virtual goods space [can] expand their business and monetize their users quickly and easily into new markets by providing a one-time, no-cost, single point of integration across multiple countries.” Translation: ad network adds commerce element in order to differentiate and add value. Read it.

Mobile Browser Ads Vs. App Ads

Fresh from its $25 million raise, mobile ad network Jumptap offers a peek at recent research which shows among other things, “58% of mobile Internet users are getting content through their browser, compared to 42% via ad-supported apps.” Read more in MediaPost. It will be interesting to see if that changes considering the iPad’s influence and publishers such as The New York Times offering digital subscriptions through its iPad app. Read more.

Future Roll-up

In an audio-only interview with The Business Insider’s Jay Yarow, former Right Media CEO Mike Walrath says he’s bearish on the digital advertising ecosystem and reprises his thoughts around the marketing services company of the future (see his opinion piece from 2010). Walrath thinks an innovative company will come along and roll-up ad verification and other services at lower margins than are being offered today. Listen now. Is he thinking Moat for which he is a co-founder and an investor?

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