Admission Corp. has sold its Spotlight Ads division to Cobalt Group, which provides services to over 40 percent of U.S. auto dealers. The company retains control over its intellectual property and Marketplaces businesses, which account for a small piece of its annual revenue, according to company president Sarah Pate. Those businesses will be sold separately.
Twenty-two of Admission’s 31 employees are being offered contracts by Cobalt, and the company’s San Ramon office will remain open.
Admission is the descendant of iPIX virtual tours used by Realtors and others. It pioneered the use of online product pictures by eBay, and has contracts with many newspapers, Yellow Pages companies and others. It has lately focused on the proprietary Spotlight Ads technology that enables users to search for classifieds and receive an interactive banner of info laden thumbnails in return.
Pate says Cobalt was impressed by small trials it had conducted with the Spotlight Ads, where it saw results double when effectively targeted. She anticipates that Cobalt will be effectively positioned to go after dealer dollars for inventory, and also seek a piece of the $3 billion now assigned to dealer associations, who currently have little or no presence in Internet marketing.