Double Take DoubleClick has developed a computer program that links Web surfers and advertisers based on known or presumed characteristics of computer users. The New York-based interactive agency has convinced about 60 Web publishers to let it run "banner" ads on their sites on behalf of advertisers that DoubleClick signs up. The most important site in the DoubleClick network is that of Alta Vista, the least popular of the five largest Internet search engines. DoubleClick gets an undisclosed commission on any advertising it secures for its affiliates' sites, and the agency is letting non-network Web publishers--ones that sell ads on their own--utilize the audience/advertiser matching software for a fee. In addition, DoubleClick would like to recycle "remnant" space on Web publishers' sites and operate a charge-per-action service.
DoubleClick, it seems, is starting down the road that might ultimately lead to an IPO. The 2-year-old company has never made a penny and admits it may never earn enough to use its accumulated losses to shield future profits from taxes. The last crop of new-age ad companies typically made it to their public debuts, but within months most of the stocks crashed and burned. Here comes the next wave. --Alan Gottesman (westendal pobox.com) is principal of West End Consulting.
THE GOTTESMAN FILE
Number of unique "visitors," age 12+, to the big five Internet search engines
..........Oct. 1997.....Nov. 1997.....Change
..........Source: RelevantKnowledge. Persons, in thousands.