5 Questions for ValueClick Media's David A. Yovanno

David A. Yovanno is general manager of ValueClick Media, and has played a key role in the company's merger with Fastclick. Yovanno oversees operations, product development, and sales for the ad network, serves on the management team of ValueClick, Inc., and is a member of the Interactive Advertising Bureau board of directors. Under his leadership, the network has grown to offer online advertisers and agencies access to more than 112 million unique Internet users per month from more than 13,500 publisher/partner sites.

Tell us what's going on at ValueClick Media since it acquired Fastclick. How are you differentiating the brands? What are the challenges?

>> ValueClick, Inc. acquired Fastclick on Sept. 30 [2005]. From the outset, we decided there wasn't enough differentiation between the ValueClick Media and Fastclick solutions to maintain separate brands. We believed that by bringing two of the largest, most established ad networks together, we could offer unparalleled performance and scale. Almost immediately, we consolidated our organizational structure and operational processes and set about joining our technology platforms to leverage the best attributes from both systems.

The biggest challenge since then has been operating two networks with one team -- at times it seemed like we were working two jobs. That said, I'm proud to say that after six months, we have completely integrated the two businesses. As of Mar. 28, we're operating under the ValueClick Media brand, and the Fastclick name has been retired.

The only thing certain in online media is change. How are you calibrating the business to thrive in such a dynamic space? Where is the most growth potential for the network?

>> Our focus is on providing superior technology and services in display advertising and lead generation. Our new display advertising platform is based on Fastclick's optimization technology and user interface controls, combined with behavioral enhancements we developed at ValueClick Media. Through our recent consolidation with WebClients, we have a separate team focused exclusively on servicing our lead-generation platform. The biggest growth opportunities are in our ability to leverage all of ValueClick, Inc.'s assets to provide both brand and direct-marketing clients richer user-level targeting, and in the growing acceptance of advanced lead generation as a standard online marketing strategy. Few companies are large enough to offer these services on such a large scale.

What do marketers, even seasoned online media pros, need to know about ad networks? What's the value proposition?

>> No other model offers user-level targeting, including behavioral re-targeting, with the level of scale offered by a large network. The ad network model also offers complementary reach to the major portals and large vertical sites, making it a highly efficient way to reach audiences as they visit high-composition niche content sites across the Web. Many people expect that networks are a "blind buy," but several now offer a high degree of transparency, including media plans featuring named sites and several options such as roadblocks, rich media, ad effectiveness research, and advanced optimization, even against key brand metrics.

What's your biggest challenge right now?

>> My biggest challenge right now is prioritizing and managing the product development schedule. There is so much opportunity in the marketplace. Because of the abundance of opportunity, we -- like other companies in our space -- have found there is a dearth of talent, which makes it an ongoing challenge to continually attract and retain the very best people.

What's the best part of your job?

>> Hands down, the best part of my job is the people I get to work with every day. Within ValueClick Media, across ValueClick, Inc., and among our advertiser and publisher clients, I have a unique opportunity to work with some of the brightest minds in online advertising. What also makes my job exciting is the innovative work we're doing. I love being exposed to so many different business models every day from both advertisers and publishers.