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ValueClick Q2: Spin Fails to Hide 18% Decline in Revenues

As predicted, Q2 2009 was awful for ValueClick. Revenue was down 18 percent to $130 million; net income was down 10 percent to $15 million. The company didn't hide this, but it did accompany its numbers with a masterfully misleading piece of spin. Here's the quote from the earnings statement:

The Company's comparison shopping and search segment, display advertising business within the media segment, and technology segment performed above expectations, and each delivered revenue growth as compared to the first quarter of 2009.
Sounds pretty good, right? In fact, as the chart below shows, every single segment of ValueClick's business lost both revenue and profit this quarter. The segments only performed "above expectations" if you believed they were going to be even worse. And nobody compares revenue growth from one quarter to the next, as the second half of the sentence suggests you should.

But let's do that anyway. In Q1 2009, total revenues were $135 million; Q2's revenues are 3 percent less than that. So what growth there was, was confined only to those segments. Here's the Q2 segment breakout. See if you can spot the "growth":

Answer: there isn't any.

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