There's more to online advertising than Google
Earnings at ValueClick soared to $0.14 a share in the June quarter, from a $0.08-per-share showing a year ago. The top line soared 138% higher to hit $130 million. Most of those gains came from the company's healthy appetite for acquisitions, but let's not dismiss this as anything less than a monster performance.
Analysts only expected the company to produce profits of $0.11 a share on $119.5 million in revenue. Organic growth also clocked in at a respectable 35%.
The success is even more impressive when you note that ValueClick offers all of the eye-candy advertising that the text-based platforms of Yahoo! and Google seem to shun. Through subsidiaries like FastClick and Commission Junction, ValueClick provides third-party publishers with ad inventories and access to affiliate marketing programs.
I'll admit that I'm a bigger fan of the Google AdWords and AdSense models, which deliver a series of perfectly targeted ads to content sites. Google ads blend better, and logic would dictate that the broader inventory of specialized ads would deliver more leads in an available ad block than a single graphical ad. I figured that Google and the new Yahoo! Publisher Network would threaten the existence of more conventional affiliate marketing through companies like ValueClick or the Amazon.com
I can own up to that, and I applaud ValueClick as it raises its guidance for all of 2006. It's now looking to earn between $0.48 and $0.54 a share before stock-based expenses of $0.09 to $0.10 per share. Revenue should come in between $519 million and $529 million. Well done. I was a fan of ValueClick when it was trading for little more than the cash on its balance sheet two years ago, and I can appreciate how the company has put the greenery to good use by acquiring smaller players on the cheap. That strategy has helped both ValueClick and aQuantive
Prove me wrong, ValueClick. Two years ago, you had me as a value play. Your latest numbers tantalize me as a growth-stock opportunity. Keep it up for another quarter or two, and you may very well wipe out the last of my doubts.
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Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarrizis a fan of online advertising and has had a Commission Junction account since the 1990s. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. Amazon.com is aMotley Fool Stock Advisorpick. The Fool has adisclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.