IAR Bits and Bytes

Carat Interactive Buys Freestyle

Interactive agency Carat Interactive announced Monday it acquired San Francisco-based Web shop Freestyle Interactive in a further consolidation of the agency space.

Since the dot-com meltdown, the standalone interactive agency has become an increasingly rare breed. Freestyle, begun in 1997, was one of the last remaining private interactive shops in San Francisco. With its addition, Carat said it would be able to win more clients by broadening its expertise.

“The interactive advertising and marketing industry has been showing signs of returning vigor, particularly in creative accounts going up for review,” said Sarah Fay, Carat’s president. “The acquisition of Freestyle creates new opportunities for Carat Interactive to drive top-line revenue.”

The company will operate under the Carat name, and top Freestyle executives Toby Gabriner and Karim Sanjabi have been named executive vice presidents. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CheckM8 Rolls Out Formats Library

CheckM8, a rich-media platform provider, announced on Monday the rollout of a suite of dozens of rich-media format options for advertisers and publishers.

The Israeli company said the “64+ Formats Library” would allow its 600 advertisers and 100 publishers easy access to some of the most popular rich-media executions that can be made through its system. Unlike rich media vendors like Eyeblaster and Unicast, CheckM8 gives publishers and agencies a toolkit to build their own rich media systems, capable of creating any number of different rich media ads.

The library is an attempt by CheckM8 to offer clients the ease of standard formats without the rigidity of the executions being defined by third parties. The library features a wide variety of creative options, from takeovers to pop-ups to floating banners.

“It’s very easy for the sites to create standard formats,” said Carter Nicholas, vice president of CheckM8’s North America operations. “With rich media, you’re always going along that edge. The promise of rich media is the ability to innovate.”

The company launched in the United States last year, after beginning in Israel and spreading to Europe. CheckM8 said it ran over 3,000 campaigns last year for more than 600 advertisers, with a publisher base that includes Terra Lycos, iFilm and Starmedia.

24/7 Real Media Gets Nasdaq Warning

Ad server 24/7 Real Media said Friday it received a letter from Nasdaq warning the company’s shares would be delisted next Thursday for failing to meet the $1 minimum price, unless it requested a hearing. The company said it intended to do so.

If Nasdaq rejects 24/7’s appeal, the company said it would move its shares to a less glamorous exchange such as over the counter bulletin board. The hearing should be held within 45 days of when 24/7 Real Media makes its request.

A delisting would place 24/7 Real Media alongside the likes of Salon as a former Internet high-flyer kicked off the exchange.

24/7 Real Media closed trading Friday at 47 cents a share.

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