RBS analyst Jordan Rohan infuriated the folks at ValueClick a while back, when he argued that the FTC investigation of ValueClick’s lead-gen business would be a problem for the company and stock. In mid-October, ValueClick pre-announced a crappy Q3 because of lead-gen troubles. In yesterday’s conference call, the company admitted that its lead-gen problems have spread from the “bad” lead-gen segment (promotions) to the “good” lead-gen segment, as advertisers run screaming from the whole thing.
ValueClick says lead-gen now accounts for 60% of its media revenue and that the business has “stabilised.” The company’s weak guidance for Q4, however, suggests that it is not expecting much growth in its display business, either. This could be conservatism, it could be ValueClick-specific, or it could be an indication that the remnant display business is beginning to feel the pinch of economic weakness.