It is a tough time for many networks. They seem to be dropping like flies. my favorite summation of the current state of play came in – of all things – a press release from Adknowledge:
"…other networks in the industry are struggling: Velo Holdings Inc, parent company of Neverblue, Lava Life and Vertrue, filed for bankruptcy with over $1 Billion in debt; Epic Media Group’s Affiliate Division, formerly known as Azoogle, has reportedly stopped paying publishers; and Adteractive announced that they would be closing their doors without fulfilling their financial obligations to publishers."
Epic is the big story of the moment. Don Mathis, the former CEO, is now heading up Kinetic Social, an "an emerging social media marketing solutions provider" that may or may not have previously been called EpicSocial according to AdExchanger.
An EpicSocial press release from Feb, 10, 2011:
"In addition, the group announced the rollout and expansion of its distinctive social media solutions, which provide brands and advertisers with unsurpassed measurability and profitability in their social media marketing efforts. This announcement comes on the heels of rapid growth while operating with a concentrated and limited set of clients for the last year. Launched in early 2010, Epic’s social unit grew 513% in the last two quarters of the year, and experienced an 840% increase in action-based transactions through the EpicSocial platform in this same period."
A Kinetic Social press release from Jan. 4, 2012
"The privately-held social media integrated marketing solutions provider to brands and agencies, today announced strong 4th quarter and 2011 results, achieving a 244% growth rate over 2010 results. Moreover, the company also announced that it achieved profitability for the first time in early Q3 2011, almost five months ahead of plan. Management attributes its success in 2011 to outstanding execution by its expanding team…Kinetic Social was founded in early 2010 by a group of experienced internet advertising professionals to solve the challenges of attribution and effective data-rich analytics in a social milieu."
Then there is David Graff, the CEO of a company called Online intelligence, and a former EVP and General Counsel for Epic. Online Intelligence shows only four "representative" clients on their website, two of which are Epic Media Group and Kinetic Social:
In addition to all this of course is the constant drumbeat of rumor that Epic isn’t paying publishers or partner networks. It can only be a matter of time surely before Epic is forced to make some official announcements? If they are happy to stay quiet and suffer death by a thousand cuts of rumor, then that tells its own story.