Online advertising firm DoubleClick Inc. (Nasdaq: DCLK) rebounded 15 percent Friday, after Salomon Smith Barney said any weakness in its stock should be seen as a buying opportunity.
DoubleClick shares have dipped 30 percent over the past three weeks due to privacy lawsuits and governmental inquiries. DoubleClick was up 12 1/16 to 94.
DoubleClick said on Thursday it is now delivering an average of 1.5 billion ads a day on the Internet, up from the 1 billion ads per day reported by the company in November.
Salomon Smith Barney said on Friday that weakness should be used to add to positions and that its price target on DoubleClick remains $165 per share, and its rating "buy, high risk."
"We feel the current level of anxiety is over-extended. DoubleClick upholds some of the most stringent privacy standards in the industry, even though DoubleClick seeks to eventually use personal information -with prior notice and consent- to improve the relevance and performance of online ads," said the firm in a report.
Salomon also said DoubleClick's key operating statistics led it to raise first quarter and full year 2000 revenue estimates by 14 percent and 8 percent, respectively. First quarter 2000 systems revenue is now expected to be $126 million, rather than $111 million. For the full year 2000, revenue should reach $585 million, and that figure could still prove to be too conservative. The prior estimate was for revenue of $540 million.
DoubleClick uses Web-based technology to track the surfing habits of Internet users as they move through sites on the Internet. It acquired Abacus for its database of offline profiles, which it could fuse with consumer buying behavior for target marketing purposes on the Internet and through direct mail.
Though DoubleClick has yet to use that information, privacy advocates have expressed alarm at the company's attempts to gather so many details. DoubleClick has recently been making noise about its program that allows users can opt out of the system that would track their Web habits.
The company's competitor Engage (Nasdaq: ENGA), which maintains anonymous profiles, was up 7 1/8 to 147 Friday.