Ad Firms and Portals: Keeping on Spending - TheStreet

    Content isn't king in the race to profitablity. And that's why, back with e-tailers in the Internet-popularity sweepstakes, you'll see online content plays, many of which are near their 52-week lows after spectacular run-ups over the past year.

    These are companies such as

    LookSmart

    (LOOK)

    ,

    GoTo.com

    (GOTO)

    and

    Ask Jeeves

    ( ASKJ). Laboring in the long shadow of

    Yahoo!

    (YHOO)

    , these portals and search engines are seeing their revenue grow. But they aren't shy about spending most of their gross profits, if not all, and then some, on sales and marketing efforts aimed at breaking through Internet clutter.

    Meanwhile, in the adjacent e-marketing services sector, many firms are heavy on cash. And that's a good thing. With their big IPO war chests, they're growing fast and spending big money to build infrastructure that companies can use to market to consumers online. One major exception to the rolling-in-cash rule is

    Engage

    (ENGA)

    , majority-held by

    CMGI

    ( CMGI): The company, which recently closed on its acquisitions of

    Flycast Communications

    and

    Adsmart

    , has only a handful of quarters' worth of cash left, and has made it clear it will need further financing before the cash flow turns black.