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DoubleClick Buys Rival's Technology Assets

DoubleClick has bought the technology assets of online ad-serving and media company L90 Inc.
Internet advertising company DoubleClick Inc. is using its strong cash position to scoop up less fortunate competitors in the weakened advertising market. The company Wednesday bought the technology assets of online ad-serving and media company L90 Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

L90's primary technology offering, adMonitor, is an ASP ad-serving and tracking technology the company has used with its 1,700 marketing clients. DoubleClick also acquired L90's ProfiTools solution, a marketing platform that L90 clients use to build targeted relationships with Internet users. DoubleClick already provides targeted ad serving for more than 2,000 Web sites using its proprietary DART technology, which collects and analyzes audience behavior, measures ad effectiveness, and provides data for Web publishers and advertisers.

Last month DoubleClick purchased media planning technology from Adgile Interactive. And earlier this year, the company scooped up a series of E-mail marketing vendors, including MessageMedia Inc. "They're taking advantage of the soft online advertising market," says Jim Nail, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

Not that DoubleClick is immune to the advertising fallout. The company last week lowered its overall revenue projections for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from $96 million to $102 million to between $87 million and $90 million. Still, the competitive landscape is shrinking. Once a strong competitor to DoubleClick, Engage Inc. recently sold off its online advertising technology to BlueStreak Inc. and will now focus on content-management software. BlueStreak has financial backing from AOL, so it may be better able to weather the economic downturn that is hurting the market, says Nail. Other competitors, like 24/7 Media and MediaPlex, have a harder road ahead. "None of them are as close to the dominance that DoubleClick has," Nail says.

The shrinking options in the ad-serving market could prove detrimental to advertisers looking to the Web for message delivery, causing many to rethink using the banner ad as a marketing vehicle. "Look at General Motors, Ford, and Daimler Chrysler," says Nail. "Do they really all want their online advertising run by the same company?" Instead, marketers are dealing with site publishers directly to sponsor content, allowing them to customize campaigns and target specific audiences.