Online ad specialists ValueClick and aQuantive saw their stock prices surge this week, after reporting solid earnings. Both companies raised their growth forecasts, indicating strength in the Internet sector.
Alliance Data Systems has agreed to purchase affiliate marketing brand Conversant, formerly ValueClick, for $2.3 billion. The acquisition is designed to complement Alliance's direct mail and catalog marketing with a greater focus on digital consumer targeting.
As the craze in Web video continues, Microsoft's MSN is in a better position than many of its mainstream rivals. The Web site got an early start in the genre, continues to sign deals for TV content, and has become a preferred choice among online advertisers.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau today was expected to announce the formation of an alliance among the major search engines to fight click fraud. The group, which includes Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and others, will create guidelines to identify and measure click fraud, with the ultimate goal of cleaning up the endemic problem. IAB CEO Greg Stuart said the alliance reflects the industry's "commitment to being the most accountable advertising medium and providing marketers with the highest level of transparency."
Christopher Cox's first year at the helm of the SEC did not pan out as most had expected, with Cox taking a more measured approach on issues, rather than living up to his reputation as a staunch supporter of free enterprise. Cox has spent his time at the SEC building relationships and working to advance several issues, including compensation rules.