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Avenue A/Razorfish Combo Pays Off

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Nine months after acquiring i-shop SBI.Razorfish, aQuantive is beginning to see the benefits of complementing Web marketing services with Web site creative.

"The Web site is going to replace the 30-second commercial as the expression of a brand," said Brian McAndrews, CEO of Seattle-based aQuantive.

Last week, aQuantive reported blockbuster first-quarter results, with revenue growing 187 percent to $65 million and net income up 55 percent to $6.4 million—with significant contributions from its Avenue A/Razorfish unit, formed by merging SBI.Razorfish and aQuantive's Avenue A interactive ad agency and i-Frontier i-shop. The SBI.Razorfish side brought in $25.3 million and greatly improved profit margins after shedding unprofitable work.

"I was looking for an improved Razorfish, but the improvement was much better than I expected," said Aaron Kessler, an equities analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co., which does not own aQuantive shares.

McAndrews said site design would continue to see robust demand. He cited research for longtime Razorfish client Ford that showed a visitor to Ford.com, which Avenue A/Razorfish recently redesigned, was 33 percent more likely to buy a car than someone who did not visit the site.

Now that the SBI.Razorfish business is returning solid results, aQuantive has focused on cross-selling online marketing and site design. So far, 20 clients from before the merger have added either media or Web strategy, and two recent client wins included both media and site design.