Dot-Com Slowdown Takes Toll as DMA Cuts 14

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The Direct Marketing Association laid off 14 employees this week as the Internet implosion continued to work its way through the industry.


Though the layoffs -- 7 percent of the DMA's staff -- were across the entire organization, they centered in the seminar area, president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen said. No other layoffs are planned.


"No question, there's been a drop in physical attendees" at recent DMA conferences and seminars, he said. "Travel budgets have been slashed."


Particularly hurt was the spring net.marketing conference in Seattle, which saw a marked falloff in attendance, though the fall net.marketing show is still scheduled for Sept. 23-25 in Denver. No other DMA conference has been affected, but the frequency of seminars is being pared down.


The DMA also has made several changes in how it handles conferences and seminars. It is outsourcing registration and delving into audio and video conferencing.


Tuesday's layoffs were in both the New York and Washington locations, though Wientzen would not say which positions were eliminated.


"The adjustment is to be more efficient," he said. "Nothing we've done has impacted member services."


The dot-com downturn has not hurt overall membership, with the number remaining steady at just less than 5,000, Wientzen said. The last time the DMA cut staff was in 1991, when nine people were laid off.


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