by Roger Hughlett, Baltimore Business Journal
Week of January 21, 2000
Officials at one of the fastest-growing companies in the area expect to ring up more than $36 million in sales this year under a new name.
Baltimore-based TeknoSurf.com Inc., which was founded in October 1998 by Scott and John Ferber as a two-person firm, has grown into a 150-person company now known as Advertising.com Inc.
According to company officials and industry observers, the name change should help the company better position itself in the competitive Internet advertising industry, which is expected to generate between $35 billion to $40 billion this year.
The company's new Web site (http://www.advertising.com) features an extensive glossary of Internet terms, a collection of case studies and a complete list of products offered by Advertising.com.
"With the name Advertising.com, our company is launching a new era of marketing based on industry leading technology and services," said Scott Ferber, chief executive officer of the company.
The new name makes it easier to explain what the company does, Ferber said. The name also could help the company attract additional investors and establish strategic partnerships with major players in the Internet and advertising arenas, he said.
An indication that strategic partnerships will play an important role in the company's future is the hiring of Jeffrey A. Dickey as chief strategy officer. Dickey is the co-founder and former vice president of business development at New York-based DoubleClick Inc., which is considered a leader in the Internet advertising industry. DoubleClick reported $127 million in annual sales last year.
Dan MacKeigan, Internet analyst with Arlington, Va.-based Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. Inc., said Advertising.com has a much more sophisticated business model than DoubleClick and New York-based 24/7 Media Inc., both of which MacKeigan covers. He added that he is bullish about both companies.
Officials with DoubleClick declined to comment on their business model or that of a competitor. Officials with 24/7 Media could not be reached for comment.
The name change should help "position the company as a leader in the industry," MacKeigan added. "People know Amazon.com as a book seller and now people will know Advertising.com as the Internet advertising company."
Company officials declined to say how much was paid for the Advertising.com name, which was registered by another entity, but Scott Ferber said it was not as much as some companies have paid for Internet domain names.
"We're happy with the deal," he said. "Advertising.com is what we do and it's who we are."
The company, which is located in Tide Point (the former Proctor & Gamble plant) in Locust Point, watched revenues grow by 230 percent in the last three months to more than $3 million a month.
Behind the impressive numbers is the company's proprietary technology, which places advertising on the Internet and then tracks the effectiveness of it.
"Advertising.com links the traditional cost-per-click model with the industry's best technology to deliver results that far exceed industry standards," said John Ferber, chief Internet officer.
Internet advertising rates usually are based on how many users click on the advertisement. Advertising.com's technology allows for more detailed research and, in turn, more targeted use of the Internet as an advertising vehicle.