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Autobytel Races Ahead

Leading Internet automobile marketing company Autobytel Inc. (NASDAQ: ABTL) jumped 13.9 percent to $2.99 a share today, moving fast on the second quarter 2007 financial results the company released earlier this morning.

According to the company’s second quarter financials, revenue from “continuing operations” actually dropped from $25.1 million in 2006 to $24.3 million in 2007. Lead fees also dropped; in 2006, they represented 71 percent of total revenues, whereas they only represent 69 percent in 2007. Still, the company did manage to mitigate some of its expenses, as represented by its lessened losses. In the second quarter of 2006, the company had a loss of $7.4 million; that dropped to a loss of $5.2 million in 2007.

Net loss also shrunk for the second quarter of 2007, going from $7.9 million in the second quarter of 2006 to a mere $1.7 million in the second quarter of 2007. Domestic cash and cash equivalents and restricted international cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments were up, going from $26.1 million in the second quarter of 2006 to $28.3 million in the second quarter of 2007. Autobytel also made note in their 2007 second quarter financials that the year-over-year operating loss related “primarily to lower patent infringement litigation expenses and other professional fees” resulting from the company’s recent lawsuit against the Dealix Corporation for patent infringement, a lawsuit that won Autobytel $9.9 million.

Despite the slightly lower figures, investor interest in the Autobytel was healthy today, racking up 717 trades by mid-afternoon. This is good news for the company, which has been slowly sliding down in share price for the past several weeks. If investor interest is excited enough, the company might recover the recent ground it has lost.

The company has made a positive reputation for itself despite its somewhat negative share movement as of late. Autobytel describes its mission as “empowering automotive consumers with the tools and information they need to make smart, well-informed vehicle purchasing and ownership decisions.” In other words, it gives its customers access to information on automobile locations, deals, quotes, insurance, and other data, keeping them informed and up-to-date.

Jim Riesenbach, the CEO and president of Autobytel, felt that the company’s work in the second quarter was an excellent step in the overall growth of the company.

“During the second quarter, we made important progress against our financial and operational goals through a non-core asset divestiture and the beta edition introduction of our new consumer-driven site,,” Riesenbach said. “While in beta, we will continue to complete technical enhancements and refine elements of the user experience, prior to an anticipated full launch and marketing rollout this September.

“We believe strongly in MyRide’s ability to leverage the significant opportunities that exist in the online automotive arena and are committed to the media-centric strategy and business model we are implementing,” Riesenbach added. “This strategy should allow us to provide considerable value to consumers, auto dealers and manufacturers alike and should enable us to achieve our goal of profitability by the end of 2008.”

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