Back in 1998, after all, the portal accounted for 26.9 percent of the
advertising giant’s business. And then, when AltaVista was acquired by CMGI — which had its own substantial
advertising assets — the question became when, not if, DoubleClick would
This week, the two companies came a little closer to answering that
question, restructuring the terms of the agreement under which DoubleClick
provides services to the portal.
Under the new agreement, AltaVista has extended its contract to use
DoubleClick’s “DART for Publishers” ad serving technology through 2004. The
majority of advertising served on AltaVista
will use DART through 2002. In 2003, at least half of all of AltaVista’s ads
will be served through DART. AltaVista will assume majority responsibility
for ad serving thereafter. Originally, the agreement between the two
companies was set to expire in December 2001.
Meanwhile, AltaVista will slowly be taking over more of the ad sales
responsibilities. The old agreement called for the company to gradually take
over the accounts of 200 large US advertisers over the year 2000 —
accumulating thirty more accounts every few months. DoubleClick will
continue to represent most of AltaVista’s international markets on an
“exclusive third party basis” through December 31, 2001, but AltaVista will
gradually be taking over those accounts, as well.
Beginning with their first restructuring in November of 1999, DoubleClick
and AltaVista have been working out the details of how to cede full
responsibility for advertising. Although, in its early stages of
development, AltaVista needed the DoubleClick relationship, it would no,
understandably, rather take more control of its destiny by controlling
advertising sales in house. This second restructuring simply extends the
period of that hand-over and extends AltaVista’s commitment to continue
using the DART technology — giving DoubleClick, and AltaVista, a softer
landing. In 1999, DoubleClick had reduced its dependence on AltaVista, and
the portal accounted for only 10.8 percent of its revenues.
“This agreement is a major step forward in accelerating our path to
profitability by allowing AltaVista to directly serve our advertising
partners,” said Rod Schrock, president and chief executive officer,