RealTime IT News

Report: Sticky Networks No More

Conceived, funded and launched inside of one year, Sticky Networks, a marketing and e-commerce application service provider, has now come full circle by reportedly shuttering its operations.

In an interview with an e-mail newsletter publication of Red Herring magazine, Sticky Networks' chief executive Robin Johnson confirmed reports that the start-up had laid off its remaining 30 employees last week.

Calls to the company's officials were not returned by deadline. In an interview with the newsletter, Johnson said the market wasn't ready for the company's offerings.

The New York-based company created graphical ways to organize content -- for instance, an interactive picture (a "Sticky") of a kitchen, in which clicking on a blender would bring up a menu of affiliated e-tailers that sell blenders.

Sticky Networks envisioned those Java-based "Stickies" being used by portals and commerce sites as an alternative to text- or hierarchically organized content. Because they were graphical and represented information in an ostensibly intuitive way, Sticky Networks believed that its product could serve as an advertising and customer retention vehicle. Publishers would make money by selling targeted keyword ads, paid links and sponsorships on a Sticky.

Despite $15 million in backing and a splashy marketing campaign that got the local industry buzzing, the company's June launch placed it in an increasingly chilly venture funding environment. With e-commerce plays losing out on expected rounds of funding, Sticky Networks was faced with a tougher time selling its ASP services to online clients as well as offline clients pulling back on their Web strategies.

Warburg Pincus Equity Partners led the $15 million the company received earlier this year, followed by Acon Ventures, an affiliate of Texas Pacific Group and the New York City Investment Fund. Existing shareholders were Primedia Ventures Inc. and the Readers Digest Association.

--By the staff of atNewYork, an internet.com publication.