24/7 Launches U.K. E-Mail Service

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LONDON-24/7 Media formally launches its e-mail service in the United Kingdom today, after a month of doing business on a test basis. "We've even made a few sales," said Stephen Eustace, the company's international director.


24/7's efforts received a huge boost, Eustace said, after the acquisition two weeks ago of Denver-based Exactis, the technology provider for the e-mail services of The Financial Times and The Economist in the United Kingdom.


Using the Times' electronic newsletter, 24/7 is in a position to insert six-line ads into the content and provide links to Web sites. "It's a bit like space ads in print," Eustace said.


In addition to some 800,000 opt-in e-mail addresses collected in the United Kingdom, Eustace said, U.S. online companies have huge holdings of European opt-in addresses, "which they have not yet monetized." Some are as many as 300,000 or 500,000.


"We could mine 100,000 e-mail addresses from the U.K. out of that pile and use them for our U.K. business, for example," Eustace said while manning 24/7's stand at the New Media Marketing show, which launched on Tuesday as a separate part of the International Direct Marketing Fair.


24/7 also plans to start an e-mail service in France next, although it has not picked a starting date, and is examining Germany, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands.


Eustace, like other exhibitors, many of them American, was pleased with the traffic that passed through his booth. The show drew 3,274 visitors on the first day, though the bulk was crossovers from the IDMF.


"This is a learning experience for us. We're finding out how people are getting on with their Web sites. And we're building traffic because there is a lot of interest out there in our products."


Much of that interest has been triggered by dot-com advertising and the massive media coverage, especially in the tabloid press here, of dot-com start-ups and the new breed of British millionaires that have sprung from them.


"That's given e-mail a high profile and been driving a lot of traffic to this show. We're getting good leads, as well as people who are just interested in the online phenomenon."


Most of the other exhibitors at the new-media show said they were pleased with the size and the quality of the traffic pouring past their stands.


Jo Denton, senior account manager for Intermail, a fulfillment company for e-commerce, said many people who stopped by "are thinking about their Web sites and gathering information" for a start that may still be six months off.


Intermail got its start as a traditional direct marketing firm and still handles regular DM business but put its back-end resources to work for e-commerce as the electronic revolution gathered speed in the United Kingdom.


Denton had not been to the Wembley show for several years and said traffic this year was clearly larger. "We're pulling in more leads than we did the last time we were here," she said.


Division.co.uk, a 3-year-old company that helps drive people to Web sites and exhibited here for the first time, reported good feedback from passersby. "Mostly they wanted to know how to get more people to their site, the company's Ben Smith said.


"Most of them have a site or are about to launch one and want information on how to draw more traffic. We help people make money from their sites, and we've been doing very well. We confirmed two contracts just this morning."


Smith explained that Division was not out to greatly increase the number of clients. "We'd rather have fewer customers and keep them up to date on the new services. A lot of Web firms push the old technology on more and more clients in order to get their money back."


Michelle Bushel, manager of account management at Exactis, who came over from Denver for the show, called traffic "consistent and quite good."


She said, "We had a seminar today hosted by one of our people and that had an impact on the traffic." About half the people who came, she added, "sought us out and had done their homework. They asked good questions. The rest wanted to know 'What do you guys do?' "


Exactis has been in Britain since January of last year and has an office in Hammersmith, West London. QXL, an online auction house, is one non-news client.


Attendance figures for the second day of the show will not be available until after the show closes later today. In any event, they are not likely to be accurate since organizers declined to combine numbers for both shows because of the large number of crossovers.
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