Online Ad Network AdBrite Culls Staff By 40%

Urged by Backer to Become 'Cash-Flow-Positive'

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NEW YORK ( -- San Francisco-based online ad network AdBrite is laying off 40 staffers, including several top executives, as it retrenches in preparation for what it expects to be tough times.

The cuts, which amount to 40% of AdBrite's work force, included VP-Marketing Paul Levine and VP-Finance Bob Feller.

'Deep and decisive'
"The economic circumstances we face now are highly uncertain; clearly there is a retrenchment on the consumer level," said CEO Iggy Fanlo. "We wanted to make a deep and decisive cut that would get us to profitability easily."

As a performance-based ad network, AdBrite is paid on a cost-per-action basis, meaning it is more sensitive to consumer sentiment than most. The cuts, first reported by TechCrunch, come days after one of its venture backers, Sequoia Capital, warned its portfolio of funded companies to take steps to become cash-flow-positive as soon as possible.

So that's what Mr. Fanlo did. He says that despite the weakening economic environment, performance-based online advertising is better-situated than most, and that October will be a record month for the company.

Slow-growing area
AdBrite is a top-20 ad network reaching that reached more than 81 unique visitors in August, according to ComScore. It recently added rich-media capabilities, and is running a promotion for the Fox show "Fringe."

But with 400-odd ad networks fighting for share of a slower-growing area, some culling and consolidation seems inevitable. Mr. Fanlo didn't say what role he expects AdBrite to play in that environment over the next year.

"If you look at the history of tech, there is generally a massive story of consolidation. Yes, I assume you will see more," he said. "I don't think anyone is oblivious to the backdrop we're facing."
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