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DoubleClick Reviews $20-25 Mil. Account

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BOSTON-DoubleClick Corp. has retained Pile and Co. to oversee a review for its North and South American advertising account, the company confirmed on Wednesday.

The overall ad budget for 2001 will be $20-25 million, according to sources.

Creative chores are with Digital Pulp in New York; media planning and buying are handled in-house. Pile and Co. is in the early stages of putting together a list of potential participants; agencies on the East Coast and in the Midwest with some experience building technology brands are preferred, though geography is not a make-or-break factor for inclusion, sources said.

Digital Pulp has been invited to participate, sources said. Executives with the shop could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Consultants with Pile and Co. referred queries to the New York-based client, a provider of Internet advertising services for marketers and Web publishers.

"DoubleClick is currently working with Pile ... to facilitate an agency review for our North and South America business. We expect to have a decision made within the first quarter of 2001," said Susan Sachatello, chief marketing officer, DoubleClick, in a statement. A company representative declined to elaborate.

The review was called at least in part to help DoubleClick polish its image in the wake of recent negative attention stemming from some high-profile litigation, sources said.

Last month, DoubleClick settled separate patent disputes with 24/7 Media and interactive agency L90. 24/7 Media filed suit in May, alleging that DoubleClick had infringed on a patent titled "On-Line Interactive System and Method for Providing Content and Advertising Information to a Targeted Set of Viewers." At the time, 24/7 chief executive David Moore said, "The patent relates to enabling technology that DoubleClick's DART ad serving system uses without our authorization." The company sought monetary damages and an injunction preventing DoubleClick from using the technology. As part of the settlement, both parties granted each other certain rights in certain of their respective patents. A similar settlement was reached in the dispute between DoubleClick and Los Angeles-based L90. Terms of the settlements were not disclosed.

DoubleClick posted a loss of $10.7 million of revenue of $135 million for its third quarter ended in September, compared with a third-quarter loss of $5.4 million on revenue of $45 million in 1999.

--David Gianatasio and Andrew McMains

Adweek