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Fastclick Files for IPO, Plans Bid-Management Tool

Online ad network Fastclick filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering that could be worth as much as $92 million. It also disclosed it would release a search marketing bid-management tool in early 2005.

Fastclick runs online advertising for about 300 advertisers across a network of 7,500 small to midsize Web sites. The company uses tracking technology to target ads to visitors based on their prior Web site behavior. It sells ads mostly on a cost-per-action and cost-per-click basis.

In its filing, Fastclick said it plans to use its optimization technology, which delivers ads to the best-performing Web sites in its network, to expand into the growing search advertising market. Fastclick plans to use the technology as the backbone of a bid-management tool that lets advertisers manage search listings across multiple engines. Fastclick said it would release its search advertising management product in first-quarter 2005.

The IPO filing comes less than two months after the Santa Barbara, CA, company received a $75 million round of venture financing. Much of that funding was used to buy out the shares of existing shareholders.

In the first nine months of the year Fastclick had net income of $3.3 million on $39 million of sales, the filing said.

Online ad networks have drawn more attention with the Internet ad recovery. AOL paid $435 million in cash for Advertising.com in June. Advertising.com boasted a larger and more profitable ad network, posting $12.1 million in operating income in 2003 on $132.3 million in sales.

The ad networks compete for publishers' so-called remnant inventory, the ad space their own sales teams cannot sell. Many publishers use contextual listings networks, such as Google's AdSense, or graphical ad networks like ValueClick, Tribal Fusion and Burst Media.

Fastclick said in its filing that it “spent significant resources” building its bid-management tool, which will compete with aQuantive's AtlasOnePoint, Did-it.com and other search marketing and optimization firms.

Fastclick proposed trading on the Nasdaq under the symbol “FSTC.” Credit Suisse First Boston and Citibank are the lead underwriters of the deal. Fastclick said it would use proceeds of the stock offering for general corporate purposes, including potential acquisitions.

Brian Morrissey covers internet marketing for DM News.com. To keep up with the latest internet marketing news subscribe to our free e-mail weekly newsletter by visiting //www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/newslettersub.cgi

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