As we wrote about last month and as the WSJ notes today ($), the lead-gen business is under fire: Advertisers are backing away from the practice and the FTC has started poking around. That caused ValueClick to bomb its Q2, and is bound to ripple through the rest of the $1.6 billion business.
Does that include MediaWhiz? The privately held company, based in the Financial District, is either an ad network or a lead-gen operation, depending on who you talk to. It’s also growing very quickly — it’s on track to do $140 million this year — and has been floated as an M&A candidate with a $400M-$500M purchase price.
CEO Jonathan Shapiro, who came aboard in April after running Lillian Vernon for Zelnick Media, responded to our query via a voicemail message: Half of MediaWhiz’ revenues do come from lead-gen, he confirmed. He then stressed that he’s confident the company won’t be buffeted by the ValueClick fallout, since he said MediaWhiz sticks to the industry’s “good” (our term) side, and doesn’t do the kind of “highly incentivized” (his term) offers that have been problems for ValueClick. We have no way to verify Jonathan’s claim but no reason to doubt it. And regardless, potential buyers will pay very close attention during due diligence. If the company is indeed for sale, that is.