Emerging Technology

Digital media company backed by Hitwise pair Andrew Barlow and Adrian Giles signs deal with Wotif

SmartCompany /

Webfirm, a digital media company backed by Hitwise founders Andrew Barlow and Adrian Giles, has inked a deal with accommodation giant Wotif, sending shares in the small-cap soaring.

The Wotif agreement follows similar deals with carsales.com.au and realestate.com.au, and moves by Webfirm non-executive director Chris Morris – founder of share registry giant Computershare – to increase his stake in the business in December 2011.

Shares in were up 1.4% this morning to 7.1 cents, after a 13% rise yesterday.

Under the deal, Webfirm’s Adslot platform will enable advertisers to buy, build and serve display advertising campaigns on wotif.com.

Webfirm chief executive Andrew Barlow said the company was excited to be working with yet another classified market leader and looking forward to playing a key role in building wotif.com’s display advertising revenue.

The $47-million Melbourne-based business is led by Barlow, and chaired by Adrian Giles.

The BRW Rich Lister members founded online audience measurement business Hitwise and sold it in 2007.

Morris boosted his stake in the business to just under 10% last month, after originally investing in July 2009.

The company operates two main divisions: Adslot, which allows publishers to sell advertising inventory via an auction system; and Webfirm, which provides online marketing services including web design and development, website optimisation, hosting, search and social marketing and e-commerce.

It is coming off a trying year which saw its former CEO David Burden stand down for health reasons and the company shift from being a bespoke software solutions developer to a product-driven sales organisation.

Webfirm posted a $12.3 million loss for the 2011 financial year, down from a $4.2 million loss the previous year.

At its annual general meeting held in late November, Giles said the company had moved into European markets during unfavourable economic conditions, but reaffirmed his confidence in the company.

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