Ad-Tech Outfit DoubleVerify Plunges 40% Today, -62% from Peak, 3 Years after IPO. Nabs WOLF STREET Downgrade to “Should Have Never Bought”

We have a special place in our heart for DoubleVerify because it blacklists WOLF STREET in the “brand safety” services it touts to advertisers.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

Shares of DoubleVerify Holdings [DV] plunged 40% today, to $18.25 at the moment, after it had reported earnings last night. Shares are now down by 62% from their intraday high on June 29, 2021, and far below the IPO price of $27 in April 2021.

The ad-tech company has wedged itself between advertisers and internet publishers, trying to extract money from both for various services that it touts with dubious claims. Before today’s mishap, its market cap was $5.3 billion, now down by $2.1 billion, to $3.2 billion.

Its shares plunged today because it disclosed some issues and cut its full-year revenue guidance from a range of $688-704 million, to a range of $663-675 million; and it cut its guidance for “adjusted EBITDA”; it said, “primarily due to uneven spending patterns by the select large retail and CPG advertisers that we mentioned last quarter.”

Its net income shriveled by 42% to $7.1 million; and after the foreign currency translation adjustment, shriveled further to just $2.5 million, which is close to zero for a company even with a new-and-improved market cap of $3.2 billion. WOLF STREET downgrades DV from “should have sold already” to “should have never bought.”

The company’s IPO took place in April 2021, just two months after peak-hype-and-hoopla in February 2021. By March 2021, astonished to watch all this stuff coming apart, we created our pantheon of Imploded Stocks, where we place stocks after they plunged by 70% or more. And we’re now busy trying to make some room for DoubleVerify in this increasingly packed pantheon.

We have a special place in our heart for DoubleVerify because it blacklists WOLF STREET as part of its brand safety services that it touts to advertisers. So in effect, advertisers are paying DoubleVerify to block their carefully crafted and costly communications from reaching our readers.

Our readers tend to be high income; many have substantial investments; many work in finance or real estate; many own companies, ranging from financial advisories to manufacturing firms; many are top executives. Quite a few of them have reached out to me and have donated very generously to WOLF STREET (which is primarily supported by donations).

These are readers that advertisers scramble hard to reach with their communications, especially financial services firms. But some of these advertisers pay DoubleVerify to block their communications from reaching our readers. In addition to this being a lousy deal for advertisers, it costs WOLF STREET substantial amounts in ad revenues.

In July 2020, DoubleVerify announced that after its “social justice hackathon” – we’re not kidding – it has updated some terms. For example, it replaced the word “blacklist” in its services that it touts to advertisers with “exclusion list,” because, you know, it includes the word “black.” It also replaced the term “whitelist” because it includes the word “white.”

“DoubleVerify makes sure advertisers get what they are paying for by ensuring that ads are seen by the intended audience and don’t appear alongside objectionable content,” is how Barron’s touted this service today, when it reported on DV’s guidance debacle – the objectionable content being the articles and charts you see on WOLF STREET.

Ad tech – from Google on down, including outfits such as DoubleVerify – has sucked more and more ad dollars out of the stream between advertisers and publishers, to where advertisers keep paying more and more, and publishers keep getting less and less, to where there is now a long list of online publishers that have cut jobs to the bone, and many have shut down entirely.

Thankfully, WOLF STREET is primarily supported by the donations from many generous and loyal readers, the very people that DoubleVerify doesn’t want to see the communications from its advertiser-clients.

Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:

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  78 comments for “Ad-Tech Outfit DoubleVerify Plunges 40% Today, -62% from Peak, 3 Years after IPO. Nabs WOLF STREET Downgrade to “Should Have Never Bought”

  1. All Good Here Mate says:

    Amazing. So, DoubleVerify could you know, read an article or two and maybe spend a week on Wolf Street and check it out… No wonder their stock is tanking.

    You’re not all good there, mate.

    • dang says:

      “Our readers tend to be high income; many have substantial investments; many work in finance or real estate; many own companies, ranging from financial advisories to manufacturing firms; many are top executives. Quite a few of them have reached out to me and have donated very generously to WOLF STREET (which is primarily supported by donations).”

      I’m guessing here, otherwise Wolfstreet wouldn’t exist. I find the disclaimer acceptable, allowing Wolf the latitude to continue his impeccable graphics and sometimes questionable point of view.

  2. MustBeADuck says:

    So it’s gotta be asked. Have they ever explained what, exactly, they deem objectionable? Is it just that your articles and charts reveal some truths they don’t like?

    • Wolf Richter says:

      “Have they ever explained what, exactly, they deem objectionable?”

      Not to me. An ad agency — whose high-CPM ads by financial services firms got blocked on WOLF STREET — tried to get WOLF STREET off the list, to no avail.

      WOLF STREET, however, could buy some publisher services from DoubleVerify, which would include getting WOLF STREET whitelisted, LOL. This ad-tech stuff is just amazing.

      • Dirty Work says:

        That sounds suspiciously like Yelp’s business model. We know how well they’re doing compared to years gone by.

      • cas127 says:

        Doubleverify sounds like a bunch of $&^#&$&!.

        But leaving them aside for a minute, the internet adtech eco-system is fairly amazing/convoluted/bizarre in itself and, quite probably, has rendered the entire advertising industry the most disrupted one of the entire Internet era.

        From a pure revenue perspective, it is probably a safe bet that a significant majority of internet-tied revenue is directly tied to advertising. (See Facebook and Google, with Amazon kinda being a grey area).

        That said, it is fairly amazing that Google and Facebook have been able to dominate as much revenue generation as they have – considering that internet startup costs are pretty low and that a ton of the internet operates on open standards.

        I know the adtech spaghetti charts show a ton of intermediaries in the adtech market…but all the more amazing that Google and F-book are able to hoover-up so much market share.

        • Alba says:

          Wait, what? Amazon’s annual revenues are greater than Google and Facebook combined, and the hundreds of fulfillment centers they operate around the world aren’t stuffed with digital ads.

          The market share concentration problem of digital advertisers could have been addressed by the FTC back in the day, before these companies became quasi-monopolies. Instead, they looked the other way, and then left DC to go work for them. Even with serious leadership at the FTC now, it’s a bit too late… I’m afraid that ship has sailed.

        • Cas127 says:


          1) Amazon is reselling other people’s products for the most part – that is why their margins pale in comparison to the Googles/Facebooks of the world. This also explains Amazon’s high “revenues” – which are really gross product sales more so than *Amazon’s* own corporate revenues. Amazon has had a major impact on retailing…I just don’t think it may as be profound as Google/Facebook’s on advertising.

          2) Despite the impact of Amazon on retailers of various kinds, there are still plenty of retailers around – especially if online competition is included. I would argue that Google/Facebook have had a deeper impact on their advertising sector competitors (newspapers, magazines, TV, etc)

      • Yaargh says:

        Things were better the way adverts were handled in the early days of the net with per click or time based campaigns directly managed by the site itself. Still a thing for major brands and I realize this died off for smaller sites due in large part to the volume of sites/blogs; but for a site directed at a fairly particular group, as you outlined, it seems like it could still work.

        But I guess the issue is now moved to the companies paying for ad space being addicted to single service providers like adsense and not willing to take any risk without a middle man to blame.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          I have some direct ads, occasionally, and you’ll see one coming on Monday for two weeks on the homepage. But big advertisers, or their ad agencies, don’t give me the time of the day.

        • Cas127 says:


          You have the viewership stats…I think your audience might be interested in another periodic post about the internet ad ecosystem and its trends.

      • Xavier Caveat says:

        Trust, but DoubleVerify

        • John H. says:

          Good one, Xavier Caveat!

          Key question for me regarding guardians of truth:

          Who guards the guards? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

          Motives are key, both financial and political.

          Separately, I was surprised I could not find a Wikipedia page for WolfStreet. I expected to find some subtle defamation there…

      • Daniel says:

        I used to work for DV’s competitor, which shall not be named. I had access to the GARM results for specific content. The “tech” was laughably bad on the false positives. Anything, like the word “sexy” for example, could bring you down a notch. It was just a cheap keyword pattern matcher. This is why some YouTubers are smart and avoid certain categories like war or mentioning genocidal maniacs. Recently, GARM introduced the “misinformation” category, which should bring hilarious results – I mean even humans have trouble figuring this out, and we’re going to let machines do it? lol

      • polistra says:

        Paying for a “list experiencing brighter color” used to be called “mail experiencing darker color”.

      • Spagmess says:

        It’s a mafia protection racket. “Nice website you got there. Sure would be a shame if something happened to its ad revenue”.

      • grant says:

        It’s an older scam, sir, but it checks out.

    • dang says:

      The simple answer is that a man has to eat.

      Wolf’s graphics have always told a more accurate presentation than the narrative.

      Hopefully, now that you’re have the opportunity to become important

      Do not forget the everyday people that read and comment on this site.

    • DownFed says:

      It is absolutely a war on inconvenient truths. That is a widespread issue with both political parties, as well as with the government itself.

      The biggest inconvenient truth that they have in the economic arena is, to obtain negative real interest rates (interest rate – inflation rate), there has to be a central bank printing money (QE) somewhere.

  3. stratus says:

    If they publish their list of excluded sites then they may well achieve the ‘Streisand Effect’.

  4. dougzero says:

    If one is interested in reading weasel words strung together in a variety of ways, I recommend the DoubleVerify website. It is quite descriptive of nothing. I wanted to see how or why or who they er ‘exclude’ but I could not. Idiots for excluding this place.

  5. The Struggler says:

    Its “social justice hackathon” could have included changing the ticker symbol to something that doesn’t abbreviate “Domestic Violence.”

    I suppose that is at least: Truth in advertising.

    More middle men is just a form of violence against our nation.

  6. J.M. Keynes says:

    – Perhaps Wolfstreet was a bit too critical ?

  7. Glen says:

    It’s nice you take this stuff personal. Seems similar to Al Jazeera and TikTok bans in controlling content but on another level through false auspices. Party line content only please!

    I’m not saying their aren’t good IPOs but seems the goal is to go public selling a false bag of goods, get rich, then either get out of continue to collect while you can. Obviously some are left losing out but that is the whole point.
    That doesn’t even account for the massive investment into ideas that suck in massive money and never make it to IPO but fall flat trying to get bad ideas that can’t be sold to try to create revenue which also fails.
    People would argue all of that is necessary as it results in competition and better products, which may sometimes be true but many seem to just be schemes with no real societal benefit.

  8. Doug Mayfield says:

    I had never heard of DV so I went to their site and read what they said about what they do. Their statement, their use of language, consisted of vague generalities essentially saying that they are against bad things, objectionable content, etc., and they will protect you from those bad things, etc., but leaving unanswered how they define good and bad, objectionable, etc. While I cannot be sure, to me, this rings of the ‘woke’ censorious approach of the left which has has proven disastrous in other areas of business. The net has added enormously to our lives and to me has created a situation in which we are all monitors, editors, etc. of what we read and see. In my view, we can take care of ourselves and should be left free to sort out good, bad, objectionable, etc., on our own. Just my opinion but the concept underlying what DV apparently does is in my view fatally flawed. That is, what they’re offering has no real use in the modern world and they will inevitably vanish. (I’m happy to listen to contrary opinions.)

    • Daniel says:

      It’s meant for advertisers. Remember when Disney pulled ads from Twitter? It’s because they didn’t want to associate with “bad” tweets from Elon. DV sells a “promise” of your ad dollars going to “brand safe” publishers.

    • Matt says:

      I saw the stock down huge today too and did the same thing. I went to the company’s site and poked around, went to their about page, etc. and left dumbfounded about what they actually did. They say it clearly, nowhere.

    • JimL says:

      You completely missed the point.

      Granted, their sales pitch was not realistic in any real world.

      That said, your biases are showing and are affecting your thinking. I don’t care other than the fact that it affects our political future.

      BTW, anyone who uses the word “woke” means that they want to complain about people complaining about them without giving a real reason. The opposite of Woke is Sleep. Go back to sleep.

  9. Friend of a friend says:

    Hey Wolf!
    Sorry for the off-topic.
    How can one check if his website is on the blacklist of DoubleVerify?
    Asking for a friend. :)
    Thank you.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I know from the ad agency I used. This started years ago. That ad agency’s direct-client’s high-CPM ads always got blocked on WS because that client paid DV for its services. The advertiser was a huge financial services firm. The ad agency could see the blocks happening. And I could see it too. The blocks also blocked the backfill, so readers saw a white blank space instead of an ad, and I got paid nothing. I was told that they reached out to DV, but it didn’t change anything.

  10. MM says:

    You know you’re in peak bubble times when a company that produces absolutely nothing is “worth” multiple bullions of dollars.

    • andy says:

      I think Facebook or Google are in $Trillions now. But Google has maps, so there is that.

    • RH says:

      Buffet is very bearish about lots of companes and, I believe, right again. Read about his cash pile.

  11. Home toad says:

    I guess if they (double verify) are dying like a dog , best to keep your distance, lest some of their flies travel your way.

    They might view you like the grim reaper, looking around for the souls of dead or dying companies to put into your lists from hell… And “wolf street” especially at night with the glowing eyes thing… Not good.

  12. Escierto says:

    Wolf is in good company. DoubleVerify marked Time magazine’s article on Taylor Swift (Person of the Year) as “brand unsafe” because it contained the word “feminism”. Other words such as “racism” and “gay” will also result in an article being marked “brand unsafe”.

    • DownFed says:

      There is a point in restricting advertising dollars to non-political, non-partisan outlets. As an employee of a publicly traded corporation, we were told not to connect the company to a politically charged issue.

      And that is because our shareholders want everyone’s money, not just blue or red money. There is a fiduciary issue to the shareholders on that. Bud Light comes to mind.

      • JimL says:

        The problem is, in the modern nutter world, literally any topic can be can considered partisan.

        Take Coke.

    • MiTurn says:

      How about “lame”?

  13. DeepDarkTruthfulMirror says:

    I’ll raise a modest toast to Wolf Street then, and take this opportunity to say thank you. Very impressive content.

  14. Imposter says:

    Blacklist Wolf Street? Why on earth would any company PAY anything like DV to have their ads blocked from any potential consumers, especially on a wide ranging finance based site like this? Has the corporate suite become so detached from their customers that they can no longer manage their own affairs without farming out every decision or are they just lazy? Hey, what could possibly go wrong?

    I don’t get it. Can’t wait until the hit the Pantheon of Imploded Stocks List.

    • Daniel says:

      The ads are rerouted to other more PC websites. They don’t lose revenue, in fact, DV promises your revenue will increase because now your brand hangs out with the good guys lol The 2 questions of who determines what is good/bad and whether this even works well, will be left for others to answer lol

  15. Cookdoggie says:

    The reason they blacklist Wolf Street is probably because there is no guarantee to the advertiser that their company won’t be getting skewered on the site at the same time their ad pops up. We have a running list of imploded socks, we slam every company wasting money on buybacks, we kick any company doing anything stupid. It’s not a safe, sterile, neutral environment.

    That’s the price you pay for telling your truth. The Dixie Chicks famously gave their opinion and lost half the country as fans along with advertisers. Anyone making a political statement these days, same thing.

    You can’t have it both ways. Telling the truth has always had a price.

    • DougP says:

      Maybe they don’t blacklist Wolf Street, they blacklist the comments!
      I guess we deserve that, but Wolf doesn’t.

  16. Bobber says:

    Tell them to RTGDFA’s.

  17. Herpderp says:

    “Exclusion list” is incredibly offensive to the good people of Pripyat who driven from their homes by the radioactive exclusion zone marked around the ashes of Chernobyl. Do better DV.

  18. yield_curve_believer says:

    made a very humble donation in honor of the DV implosion and the fact that they blacklist wolfstreet. you don’t mess with the Wolf!

    Wolf, thanks as always for your solid analysis and level-headed insights into the markets.

  19. Redundant says:

    Re: “uneven spending patterns”

    Drunken Sailors are notorious for being uneven.

    It’s ironic that their shareholders didn’t recognize a pattern of stupidity during the IPO cycle.

  20. Bailouts4Billionaires says:

    I am HERE for the pettiness and schadenfreude… LOVE IT! 😂

    • andy says:

      Hear, hear. I bet DV’s CEO looks like a total douche. Not even gonna look it up.

  21. Danno says:

    Truth and fair, balanced objective reporting is scary these days.

    Thus the ban.

    Funny, they ban Zero Hedge in Cuba but I can read WOLF STREET anytime there on vacation.

  22. Home toad says:

    You can see here, the type of advertising for WOLFSTREET…. Whiskey & women’s lingerie.

    Looks like the proper lane!

    A very nice site you have here amigo.

    I think the commenters here are a type of advertising. Your articles advertise as well. Right now your advertising for double verify. In a horrible manner.

  23. SoCalBeachDude says:

    DM: US retail bloodbath continues as store closures hit 2,600 so far this year – here’s the full list

    Macy’s, Walmart, Best Buy, Walmart, Foot Locker and 7-Eleven are all closing stores. But worst hit are discount stores like Family Dollar and 99 Cents Only and pharmacies like, CVS and Rite Aid.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      SCBD – as Wolf has reported on numerous occasions, Macy’s and Walmart’s retail closures are strategic, appearing to be more than offset by revenue gains in their successful online operations…

      may we all find a better day.

  24. JeffD says:

    This is hilarious. Wolf spends his time converting government reports and statistics into an entertaining and educational human realatable form, spending most of his time talking about how well the economy is doing vs what the naysayers think, and somehow this is a threat to brand advertizing.

    • El Katz says:

      It’s a threat to the narrative… and many advertisers want to avoid controversy, which might raise the ire of PC army, at any cost

  25. Mitry says:

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer company.

  26. Tim C says:

    Great article – didn’t know there were goons in the middle taking bribes (their paid service) and controlling content from advertiser to publishers.
    Good reminder too – to re-up my voluntary yearly subscription.
    Cheers and thanks for all you do, Wolf !

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      …remember showing a ‘Diamond Certified’ rep the door at the moto shop twenty years ago while explaining to her that she was selling an updated and slightly-more respectable version of the protection racket…

      may we all find a better day.

  27. JimL says:

    I have a prediction for an entry into
    MThe pantheon of imploded stocks.


    Literally my only reason is it it’s valuation compared to it’s fundamentals. Already it’s CEO is going off the rails concerning short sellers (here is a hint, if your company was better run and not a scam, the short interest would be much lower). I predict that it will be nothing more than a footnote in a year. At worst, a decade from now it is nothing. Literally no one is invest6in this turd thinking it will be a massive money maker in the future.

    It is a way for con men to extract money from rules.

    Anyone want to disagree? I will be willing to bet a lot of money on it in the long term.

    • JimL says:

      Geez, I hate autocorrect on a phone.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I think people bought it for different reasons. I would classify it more as a campaign contribution or a sign of political support, and not a stock purchase for investment purposes. So in that sense, maybe it was the ultimate meme stock. I just don’t know what to do with it.

      • old ghost says:

        I think DJT stock deserves a special category, alongside Crypto. All of my Libertarian friends love Crypto. They also complain in the same breath that fiat paper money has nothing “backing it”. But they sure do love Crypto.

        Maybe they are both just gambling tokens.

      • Natron says:

        I suspect DJT is just another form of funds and influence transferral for interested parties, thru a public door this time instead of the golf course.

        Lotta little guys will be taken for the ride into the Imploded Stocks zone if said beneficiary doesn’t come into the position of power expected of him.

    • Bear Hunter says:

      You are on the money in the long run, but the election is a toss up and either way we loose. Hate is as powerful as greed.

  28. Gen Z says:

    A financial blog being ex-listed from the stonk company advertising model. What a failure of a startup!

    Goes with the saying: In times of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act

  29. WB says:

    “Social Justice” is simply MOB RULE. F%$k em. Talk about a failed business model.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  30. joe2 says:

    “blacklists WOLF STREET as part of its brand safety services”

    Huh? Looks like the UK practice of banning facts and truth is coming to the US. In fact, all Wolf Street is, is facts. Wolf, watch out and mend your ways or soon you you will be in jail with the “misinformation” and “micro-aggression speech” criminals and me.

    Anyway, look on the bright side, any publicity is good publicity.

  31. Bear Hunter says:

    Go to aljazeera for the real news and read the Qur’an.

    Think of it as a stock options to understand your grandchildren!

  32. John Beech says:

    Advertisers screwed themselves and I have zero sympathy.

    The very INSTANT adverts with motion appeared, I got a blocker. Now I no longer see *any* adverts. Didn’t mind adverts until that moment i time, because while I am on the site to see the content instead of the adverts, as long as they sat quietly and didn’t jump/flash/move they were fine by me. Like I’m not blind, I still saw them. But once they began screaming at me, I was done with the distraction. I just won’t put up with that. Same reason I recently wrote our city council about a billboard with motion graphics on a roadway I transit. I get the ideal of digital signage, cheap and easy to update, but not with motion when I’m driving and may become distracted, or worse, someone else gets distracted and plows into me. Worked too, recently saw the motion is no longer. Static advert. Me? Thinking if site owners had paid attention to the complaints (I did when the motion adverts first began appearing) people wouldn’t have flocked to blocking technology. Like I said, they had a chance, but no, they got greedy. Zero sympathy.

    • El Katz says:

      Some of the “flash” adverts can trigger seizures in people. Our first “ad blocker” was installed when this flash crap started… my wife would get headaches from them, so I researched how to block them…. and the rest is history.

      I realize that the advertising is required to support some sites. I, too, don’t mind the static stuff – but you never know when one of those blinky flashy strobing items will appear.

  33. JamesO says:

    awesome Wolf, thx!

    still at a $3B valuation. too funny. plenty of sheep for the wolves to feed off of.

Comments are closed.