Internet news/analysis in brief (ASKJ, CLCT, FWHT, GOOG, LOOK, NTRT, OSTK, TWX, VRSN)

by: David Jackson

  • NetRatings (ticker: NTRT) sued Coremetrics and Omniture over patents related to the collection, analysis and reporting of data concerning people's computer usage.
ClickZ: NetRatings claims to hold or control six patents covering work in the area, including No. 5,675,510, which relates to a "computer use meter and analyzer," and No. 5,796,952, which covers "a method and apparatus for tracking client interaction with a network resource and creating client profiles and resource database."

Jeff Molander: Can you think of a better way for NetRatings to curb any more of this kind of acquisition activity [Google's acquisition of Urchin Software] than to sue the two remaining leaders?

  • A group of lawyers representing alleged victims of click-fraud launched and a class-action suit against Google (ticker: GOOG), Yahoo! (ticker: YHOO), Lycos, AskJeeves (ticker: ASKJ), (ticker: FWHT),, LookSmart (ticker: LOOK), AOL, Netscape and Time Warner (ticker: TWX).
Comment: I'm not convinced the click-fraud issue is as great as pessimists claim. Why? Because PPC ad prices are set by auction, and advertisers bids take into account their return on investment, which includes conversion-to-sales rates. Click fraud lowers conversion to sales, and is therefore factored-in by sophisticated advertisers.

  • (ticker: OSTK) announced a deal with Collectors Universe (ticker: CLCT). Collectors Universe will provide authentication and certification for coins sold on Overstock auctions.
  • Verisign (ticker: VRSN) acquired supply-chain and RFID vendor R4 Global for $15 million.