ValueClick: Ad Recession Means We Won't Make Our Quarter (VCLK)

Ad network ValueClick (VCLK), which specialises in lead-gen/performance advertising, just pre-announced its Q2, and it’s not good: The company will miss revenue goals, said the macro environment was killing its comparison shopping and display ad business, and whacked its FY08 goals, too. VCLK has been reeling, down more than 20% earlier this morning; as of this post its climbed back a bit but is still in the $11.30 range, down about 18%. From the release:

The macroeconomic environment negatively impacted revenue in the quarter, primarily in the U.S. comparison shopping and U.S. display advertising businesses. Lead generation revenue within the Media segment was essentially flat relative to first quarter 2008 revenue. Expense management initiatives in the quarter resulted in profitability above the previously-issued guidance.

Here’s what ValueClick says the rest of its year looks like:

This isn’t the first time ValueClick has had a hard time hitting its numbers. A year ago, it started struggling with as advertisers began bailing out of leadgen, worried about FTC crackdowns on what it sometimes a sleazy business (“hit the monkey win an iPod). So it’s hard to figure out how much of this is a problem with the leadgen business in general, ValueClick’s leadgen business specifically, or the display ad business altogether.

Our hunch, though, is that this is reflecting the overall weakness for low-CPM display ads, a problem that has plagued MySpace and other big sites with lots of inventory this year. We may get some sense of what’s going on today, when Google and Microsoft report earnings, but our hunch is we’ll have to wait for later in the month, when News Corp., Time Warner and Yahoo report, to get a better sense of the market.

See Also: ValueClick LeadGen Smashed
The ValueClick Fallout: Who Else Could Get Hit?

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