Some Clarity About the Ingenio Acquisition

I just got off the phone with Ingenio CMO Marc Barach and have some additional perspective and clarity about yesterday’s announced acquisition. I had tried unsuccessfully to speak with YellowPages.com yesterday but it didn’t work out.

Barach clarified that the revenues figures (which I put at $80-$90 million) for Ingenio and its related online advice business were low “but in the ballpark.” Apparently AT&T bought that business too (I had thought not). The reason that a number wasn’t reported is because AT&T is so large that even a transaction worth several hundred million dollars is still “not material.” The number will probably come out in the next week or two.

Apparently Ingenio and YellowPages.com are essentially merging, with Ingenio to remain in SF. Barach doesn’t know about the fate of the Ingenio brand but does believe that the Ingenio ad network and partner relationships will definitely continue. He says this will put Ingenio in a stronger position across the board. One of Ingenio’s historical challenges was advertiser acquisition and the AT&T relationship will help with sales channel issues — obviously.

My initial report on PPCall (with Kelsey Group CEO Neal Polachek) projected a range of revenues based on several, contingent adoption scenarios. Most of those scenarios have not come to pass because Google and Yahoo! didn’t adopt PPCall — or haven’t yet. But Barach now believes this acquisition will greatly accelerate advertiser adoption. He also reiterated that the mobile distribution deals were going well.

One of the “bigger picture” dimensions of this deal is the way in which it represents a statement by YellowPages.com that it intends to more fully embrace performance-based advertising. Indeed, this platform can be used generally for performance-based clicks on YellowPages.com and not just for calls.

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