Will Fastclick pop-under after its IPO?

| About: First Corp. (FSTC)
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Internet advertising company Fastclick (proposed ticker: FSTC) is on its IPO roadshow now. Here are some key stats from the S-1 plus comments and analysis. Investors had better read them carefully. Do they know, for example, that 51% of Fastclick's 2004 revenues came from pop-under ads?

2004 results
Note: all changes/growth rates are year over year unless otherwise stated.

  • Revenue of $58 million, up 102%.
  • Cost of revenue was $38 million, up 97%.
  • Sales and marketing of $6.8 million, up  215%.
  • SG&A of $2.8 million, up 167%.
  • Operating profit was $7.4 million, up 28%.
  • Top 10 advertisers accounted for 46% of revenues, versus 48% in 2003.
  • 51% of revenue came from pop-up ads, versus 57% in 2003.
  • 87 employees at year-end.

Q4 results
Note: all changes/growth rates are year over year unless otherwise stated.

  • Revenue of $19 million, up 86%.
  • Cost of revenue was $12.4 million, up 81%.
  • Sales and marketing of $2.1 million, up 171%.
  • SG&A of $1.0 million, up 211%.
  • Operating profit of $2.5 million, up 16%.

Quick comments:

  • Note the lack of operating leverage - 2004 revenues up 102% but operating profit up only 28%. The cause? Sales and marketing up 215%.
  • 51% of revs from pop-under ads? Firefox and Safari block these ads automatically, and Microsoft has said that it will soon release the next version of Internet Explorer, which presumably will do the same.
  • Pop-up and pop-under ads are more profitable than less obtrusive ads. Read this quote carefully (my italics): "This [2004 revenue] increase was primarily due to an increase in the number of paid ads delivered across our website network as well as a slight increase in the average price of existing ad formats as compared to the prior period. This growth in volume and ad pricing was partially offset by a shift in mix to include new lower priced advertising formats."
  • VC ownership: prior to the IPO, 36% of Fastclick is owned by Highland Capital Partners and 36% by Oak Investment Partners. The lock-up is 180 days, but "At any time and without notice, the underwriters may release all or some of the securities from these lock-up agreements".
  • Lead-underwriter is CSFB; the others are Citigroup, Thomas Weisel Partners and Jeffries Broadview.

Quick question: Wonder how many of Fastclick's management, the VCs and underwriters use pop-up blockers?