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Longstanding investor in Looksmart (and a 70 yr old ex-tradesman), who has a passionate interest in the problems of newspapers along with their success in all their monetisation attempts made, on the web. For the "times are indeed, a changin", I feel. [17th of Aug, 2011 - Print media... More
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  • Looksmart deceives shareholders. Management may be "sandbagging"?
    Brian Horey (from Aurelian Management) made it quite clear to Looksmart's CEO in the Q&A following the Q4 Report:

    "The only metrics I hear being disclosed today are commitments to spend more money. I don't hear any metrics being disclosed about operational performance or financial performance on the top line. And I think you owe us those." 

    [Looksmart's CEO told, that shareholders expect much more than is given]
    Brian Horey would (also) have felt, that Looksmart (in the call) "owed" us the following news out today, too!
    Looksmart has waited until the 24th of March to advise the Market of news it has held (and sat on), since the 17th of March. [LOOKSMART LTD Files SEC form 8-K, Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement]
    <.......On March 17, 2010, IAC Search and Media, Inc. ("IAC") provided notice to LookSmart Ltd. that in accordance with the Sixth Addendum to the May 2005 AdCenter License, Hosting and Support Agreement (the "Agreement") it intended to extend the term of the Agreement on a monthly basis up to June 30, 2010.>
    Yet not even a mention of the above 'fact' in both the Q4 Report or, the Earnings CC that followed just an hour later, on the 18th of March, 2010.
    LookSmart Reports Fourth Quarter 2009 Results GlobeNewswire (Thu, Mar 18)
    Revenues from Publisher Solutions were 0.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, a decrease of 43% from the 1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2008, and an increase of 14% from 0.7 million in the third quarter of 2009. The sequential increase in Publisher Solutions revenue is primarily attributable to our largest Publisher Solutions client.
    [Gee ... We get a gross revenues rise of $100,000 over 3 months and it warrants a mention that it's from our "largest Publisher Solutions client"? - That we were to be losing after this Q-1 period we are in?]
    But the "clanger" came in the following Q&A that Looksmart's CEO answered without even a word on the advice he'd recieved (at least) 24 hours earlier. Wouldn't it have been a "good news" opportunity to 'show & tell' to the market?

    Q - Ryan Bergan, from Craig-Hallum:

    "Okay. And then for Publisher Solutions, have you had any opportunities or [do you] see any events that might be able to backfill the Ask Sponsored Listings going forward"?
    A -Jean-Yves Dexmier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer:

    "This is Jean-Yves". We look at Publisher Solutions more as an opportunistic source of revenues. Our core business is the Ad Network.
    We have received inquiries, and we continue to receive inquiries, from companies who would like to license the ad platform for their own business. And we answer those requests on an opportunistic basis.
    There is definitely a potential to get some revenue out of it. I do not believe that would be to a level where it would fully replace the largest customer we have in that segment, but certainly we are open to people who need help."  

    Q - Ryan Bergan: Thank you.
    It has always been bad enough getting unfavourable coverage in a number of accounts (on the web), with little understanding of the 'actual' ramifications re; this arrangement, of the longstanding partnership being closed. Will Not Renew Contract with LookSmart is not renewing its contract with LookSmart. This appears to be a major hit for LookSmart as Ask Sponsored Listings revenue generated 89% of LookSmart's Company Publisher Solutions revenue in Q1 2009 alone. -
    But what DID Looksmart Report?
    < Item 8.01.    Other Events

    .....On May 19, 2009, Ask Sponsored Listings, a division of IAC Search and Media, notified LookSmart Ltd. (the "Company") ........ that it does not intend to renew the May 2005 AdCenter License, Hosting and Support Agreement (the "Agreement") upon its expiration. ........The Agreement, as amended, expires by its terms on December 31, 2009. 
    For the quarter ended March 31, 2009, revenue from Ask Sponsored Listings pursuant to the Agreement represented $1.1 million, or 89%, of the Company's Publisher Solutions revenue.>
    Looksmart (following Q3), had even reported:
    < For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2009, IAC Search and Media ("IAC" or "Company 1"  accounted for 15% and 17%, respectively, of net revenue.> 
     This was enough for the Looksmart (Yahoo Finance) "basher brigade" to come out with a headline that said Looksmart were to lose some 17% of it's total revenues!! - (Deduct 17% from $12M was the message that was being plastered in a number of posts made, for all to see).
    And don't be misguided by the (now dead) Google link shown below here. It was a lengthy thread that after the 'fool' (is he a 'paid basher'?) had quoted the Q-10 Filing, it was then pointed out to this personally known "drongo" from Australia (alias - smugglereturn), that what Looksmart had said had related to a segment of revenues from all of the IAC Search and Media involvement (the publisher "hosted" portion) and NOT the overall partnership, that was to go. A blind misconception?
    The "basher" (smugglereturn) couldn't even differentiate between GROSS and NETT Revenues. (OMG !!)
    Yahoo! Message Boards - LookSmart, Ltd. - IAC is 17% of LOOK's ...
    IAC is 17% of LOOK's nett revenue. For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2009,... smugglereturn... (1 Rating), 27-Feb-10 04:06 am ...
    As usual, this full thread was then deleted after the truth was exposed. And this (deletion of posts) has been "par for the course" on Yahoo Finance, a point that I have been most "vocal" about, here in my SA posts. 
     (Use search term 'censorship' in search-box to find, if the above link doesn't provide the results page)
     Back to what the real "Facts" are: (From the Report)
    <Revenues from the Company's Advertiser Network were $11.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Revenues from the Company's Publisher Solutions were $0.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 an increase of 14% from $0.7 million in the third quarter of 2009.,,,, The sequential increase in Publisher Solutions revenues is primarily attributable to an increase from the Company's largest Publisher Solutions client.
    Gross margins from continuing operations decreased to 33% in the fourth quarter of 2009 - Traffic acquisition costs (TAC) of 67.3% for LookSmart's Ad Network, was incurred for the period. >
    Now if the Company's largest Publisher Solutions client in Ask Sponsored Listings had generated 89% of LookSmart's Company Publisher Solutions revenue, the total would be all of $712,000 of which (after TAC is paid to IAC) a remaining Gross margin of $234,960 would then be retained. 
    Is this enough to make a "song and dance" or, fuss over or, is it really 'enough' to knowingly want to continue to deceive shareholders about, during a CC ? (Conferance call) By not making mention that IAC Search and Media Inc ("IAC")  had (the day before) provided notice to LookSmart Ltd that it intended to extend the term of the Agreement on a monthly basis up to June 30, 2010?
    Q - Looksmart? -  If it has been good enough to "warn of" (and you have done so, often) the pending "LOSS" of this Hosting and Support Agreement with IAC and the Company's largest Publisher Solutions client, then (like-wise), shouldn't "good news" of the "extension" of the deal have warranted a little 'trumpet blowing'?
    There is (or, had) already been the firm suggestion (on Yahoo - and I agree), that management might be "sandbagging"? - [So it's surely time to .......] GET REAL, ple-eeeease!!
    LOOK4:00pm ET: $1.05  Down 0.02 (-1.87%) 
    Disclosure: Long LOOK and happy to be so.
    Mar 24 8:47 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Looksmart - The 'unnoticed' 800-pound gorilla in the room?
    Tod M. Sacerdoti (the CEO and co-founder of BrightRoll) tells of a story that I strongly feel is now about to 'unfold' so well. [Why Online Ad Categories Are Won By New Entrants – GigaOM].

    In spite of Looksmart almost being a despised Co and hardly qualifying for that "new entrant" tag, that I have been warning of the Co being the 800-pound gorilla in the room for many years now, has meant so little to so many.

    Looksmart has allowed itself to have been "re-shaped" with innovation over the past number of years and are about to reap the benefits for many years to come.

    In this excellent article, Tod M. Sacerdoti talks of his understanding, that ...

    ....."On an innovation front, the classic innovator’s dilemma is unusually powerful in new ad categories because incumbents are hampered by legacy business models and technology infrastructure developed during a prior market development phase."

    [ News Corp Looking To Sell Fox Audience Network, But How... ]

    "The next generation of online ad categories is already repeating history. The key for investors and entrepreneurs is to identify which areas are going to be categories, not features, and get involved with them early."

    I urge all that follow this blog to read the article and learn to understand just that much more.

    But (as usual), it's all just an opinion.

    LOOK: 3:59pm ET: $1.07  Up 0.03 (+2.87%)

    Disclosure: Long and Strong LOOK
    Mar 23 6:46 PM | Link | Comment!
  • Welcome to Looksmart's (global) AdCenter marketplace, Folks!!

    "I had gone as far as suggesting that it was almost a case of Omniture actually 'standardising' Analytics - And that a 'Line in the sand' had clearly been drawn"

    I'd even suggested that the real important publishers and advertisers on the web had now gravitated towards the Omniture set of analytics and the use of the Click Forensics (click fraud) detection expertise.

    [The full set of partnerships include: Eyeblaster, DoubleClick for Advertisers, Microsoft Atlas, APT from Yahoo!, PointRoll, Mediaplex, Adform, EyeWonder and D. A. Consortium. ]

    And thereby (subsequently), making life just that much easier for publishers in their doing so.

    Smaller publishers are getting scewed it would seem. There are clearly too many 'fingers are in the pie' - I'll let the following tell you why..

    < recently asked several members of the advertising ecosystem about "Middlemen" and, specifically:

    "Are there too many parties trying to insert themselves into the online advertising value chain? How do you see this playing out?">

    This piece contained in an article from Jerry Neumann (describes as an angel investor), just about tells it all.

    < Publishers right now are price takers. 

    There are two ways they can increase CPMs: make the marketers dumber by forcing them to forgo the quantitative marketing tools they have adopted, or make themselves smarter by adopting some quantitative marketing tools themselves.  The smart ones are working on the latter. - This means more intermediaries, not fewer.

    In the next few years, the tension between having many intermediaries--allowing control of and learning from the process--and having few intermediaries-reducing transaction costs--will be resolved by there being three direct intermediaries at most: buyer's agent, seller's agent and marketplace (supported by various technology and data providers, who will not themselves be intermediaries.) 

    To get there, each intermediary must become completely transparent to its clients.  No more black boxes. 

    Buyer's agents and seller's agents must move away from being arbitrageurs and return to the traditional professional services function of trusted adviser.>

    Absolutely !! 

    So, for every "single" transaction then, [we] would see:

    Just the ... "three direct intermediaries at most: (1) buyer's agent, (2) seller's agent and (3) marketplace. (And, with all supported by various technology and data providers, who will not themselves be intermediaries.)"

    [Welcome to Looksmart's (global) AdCenter marketplace, Folks!!]

    But I do feel strongly, that we will get see the 'core' of it evolve a whole lot sooner than in .. "the next few years".

    Disclosure: Long and strong on LOOK

    Mar 23 7:21 AM | Link | 1 Comment
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