When you're looking at a potential new addition to your portfolio -- or reexamining an older holding -- SWOT analysis can be your best friend. Only by looking at a company from all angles can you form a true picture of the business, and running through strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats does just that. Today, I'm looking at ValueClick (Nasdaq: VCLK), an online marketing specialist that never seems to get enough attention.


  • Short of the Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) AdSense/AdWords package, ValueClick operates the largest network of small-publisher ad spots on the planet.
  • Through its Commission Junction program, the company brokers advertiser and publisher relationships in the form of commission-based direct sales.
  • Monetization of online traffic is a hot service these days, and ValueClick has more than a decade of brand-building operating history in this market.
  • ValueClick delivers strong margins across the board, and operates from a rock-solid balance sheet with oodles of cash and no debt.
  • Insiders are buying ValueClick stock today, which tends to be a good sign.

In ValueClick's own words, "there are no significant barriers to entry to our industry."

  • Competition is fierce, including head-to-head rival offerings from industry giants Google, Yahoo!,  eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY), and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT).
  • Growth opportunities seem few and far between, except for a rising tide lifting all boats in the marketing regatta.


  • ValueClick is buying its way into new markets, as when it picked up investing resource Investopedia earlier this summer.
  • Wall Street doesn't appear to expect much from the company, given its low P/E ratio but high PEG metric. It wouldn't take much of a surprise to light a fire under this stock.
  • Clean fundamentals plus a rock-bottom valuation equals buyout bait, especially in a hotly contested market like online ad sales.


  • If the sector's giants don't decide to buy ValueClick, they could very well smother it instead. Management needs to stay on top of its game in order to survive.
  • Today's rock-bottom valuation could prove correct if ValueClick doesn't find a new growth catalyst in short order.

What's missing from this SWOT analysis of ValueClick? Complete the picture in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value choices. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. eBay is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on eBay. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days

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