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Crazy Frog emasculates Verisign earnings

Ding ding ding ding dididing ... lower than expected outlook

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Verisign's ill-judged adventure into ringtones took a stumble today, as the company said it would miss its Q3 earnings targets. Verisign blamed the shortfall on having to abide with regulations on mobile content in Europe: regulations it has largely provoked through its own business practices. Verisign now expects its Q3 revenue to come in at $410m, rather than the $435 to $440m range issued in previous guidance.

And the notorious Frog's to blame.

Last year Verisign snapped up ringtone provider the Jamba! Group, which this year embarked on a cynical saturation advertising campaign - at one stage buying up more than 50 per cent of prime time TV advertising in some markets - for its Crazy Frog ringtone. Jamba's Jamster didn't make clear that the youth market being targeted was unwittingly being sold a subscription service, rather than a one-off download.

The result was a predictable explosion in revenues, and an equally predictable backlash. Last week the British advertisers' self-regulator, the ASA, banished the loathsome amphibian from appearing on the nation's TV sets before 9pm.

The frog, which had already lost its penis en route to the United States, now it appears to be losing its mojo, too. ®

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