DoubleClick Enters Search And Affiliate Spaces Via Performics Acquisition

In a move that amplifies its mission to serve as a one-stop-shop for Web marketing technologies, DoubleClick Inc. on Monday said it would acquire search and affiliate marketing company Performics. The all-cash deal totaling $58 million is set to close at the end of the second quarter.

The acquisition further expands DoubleClick's presence in a growing list of Internet ad industry niches that include campaign management, rich media, email marketing, and Web analytics. DoubleClick will integrate Performics' search marketing technology with its DART product suite to enable tracking and measurement of search keywords and other online campaign components in one place. The new search product will also work in conjunction with DoubleClick's Web site and campaign performance analytics offering, SiteAdvanceSM.

"A unified dashboard that shows the pulse of everything in a campaign is a great idea," comments Kevin Lee, CEO of search marketing firm Did- "But in search, it's not just about reporting," cautions Lee, "It's about action-ability." Lee refers to the importance of search campaign optimization and the need for search advertisers to act on results throughout a campaign.

The new search product will be sold under the name DART Search and will also be made available on a stand-alone basis. During a conference call regarding the acquisition, DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan noted that the company's catalog clients--many of which it currently shares with Performics--will most likely use the stand-alone product, while DoubleClick's ad agency clients will be more apt to use the integrated offering. "A lot of our clients are going off in-house tools into a third-party tool, and we think that business is going to grow," Ryan said during the call.

There is a possibility that the acquisition of Performics, whose Web site mentions its "hands-on account management" services, could be met with resistance by DoubleClick's ad agency clients.

Performics' search marketing technology is used to generate and classify keywords, upload keywords to the search engines, and distribute updated product information to shopping directories and comparison shopping search engines, in addition to tracking and measuring keyword performance. The company's affiliate marketing technology allows marketers to manage, track, and report campaigns across multiple affiliate sites. Publishers use Performics' affiliate technology to monetize inventory through sponsored links.

During Monday's conference call, Ryan highlighted DoubleClick's and Performics' similar focus on cataloger, marketer, agency, and publisher clients, adding that affiliate and search marketing as well as Web site analytics are particularly relevant to catalog clients.

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