When we got a release recently about two new ‘partners’ (MedTV Network for The Toronto East General Hospital and Vizimo Digital’s Noticeboard Condo Network) at Adcentricity recently, we wondered if the company, bought by Bee Media and with Plazacorp Ventures, a private equity investor behind them, could possibly be back in full operation.
We’ve been leaving messages for the new players at Adcentricity: Perry Marshall current president and CEO, Rob Richards, managing partner at Plazacorp, as well as his assistant, and to Prudential, to whom we posed questions but haven’t heard back.
Adcentricity was bought by Bee Media in April, 2012, and since then all the former staff are gone, including Adcentricity co-founders Jeff Atley, and Rob Gorrie, as well as Doug Woolridge. Woolridge, the last of the group who remained and who is currently consulting, told us that when he left Adcentricity last May, it was a fully functioning company.
However, we wonder about that these days. Gary Seem, president and CEO of InStore Audio Network – the largest of the four creditors – has been to see the Adcentricity players in person to try to get the money owed. Seem tells us that “The first visit was to their original office but there were just three guys working when I visited and probably 10-15 desks were empty. Clearly, they had wound down the operation. The second time was to one of those ‘rent an office’ places. A shared office with a common receptionist where you can rent an office and a phone and pay à la carte for copies.”
Further Seem says that, “I made the visits on behalf of the entire creditor group. Adcentricity offered some extremely weak offer to pay all of the media creditors with a small percentage of revenue share/commission out of future billings. The trouble is that they could not show me that they had any future billings to accomplish this.”
We also spoke to Robert Davis, president and editor-in-chief of Everwell TV/MediVista Media, Darren Wercinski, CEO and co-founder of Reach, and Phil Cohen, chairman of CARE Media Holdings (and chairman of the Digital Signage Federation). All confirmed that they had not been paid.
“We all ran the campaign and we know that they got $750,000 from the advertiser,” says Davis. “It seems like they are trying to present a face that’s not accurate on what they are doing.”
Wercinski says, “It seems that they are operating on a bunch of lies. It seems like a shell company.”
We also spoke to David Perelman, director business operations at Vizimo Digital, and to Bob Kommit, head of business development at Novra Media, which owns MedTV – the two companies that were recently named by Adcentricity as its two new network partners. Both companies had known the former Adcentricity prior to its sale to Bee Media and so made their deals by phone based on that knowledge and without going to the company’s offices.
“We were pitched by Adcentricity three years ago but had no need of its services at that time.” Kommit told us. “So when we needed them, we just phoned and talked to a sales person.”
For Perelman, it was a similar story, making the deal based on knowledge of the old company.
“They seemed to be the only aggregator left in the business and we’ve been confident about them, but I admit we haven’t seen much action yet,” says Perelman.
So is Adcentricity a business simply trying to get back on its feet? – it does own all the programs developed by the former owners, Ed. Or are we looking at some form of pump-and-dump shell company? It’s not for us to say, except it would have been nice if the new owners had at least deigned to talk to us and give us their side of the story.