Aptimus Debuts Automatic E-Mail Offer Optimization

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Online lead-generation service provider Aptimus Inc. has unveiled an e-mail service that it claims automatically optimizes offers according to prospects' online response history.


Dubbed AptiMail, the service is in beta with two unnamed clients. It is an e-mail application of a homegrown technology called Dynamic Revenue Optimization the company was already using to dynamically target offers on client Web sites.


The technology checks prospects' records individually to see what types of offers they may respond to and then checks to see what offers are in the system that will stand the best chance of working. It then delivers the offers accordingly, according to Tim Choate, president/CEO, Aptimus, San Francisco.


"The most important factor is prior response, so we're using direct marketing types of thinking in terms of recency," Choate said.


Choate thinks AptiMail is the first time automatic offer optimization has been applied to e-mail.


At deadline, one client was testing five versions of the same offer, one of which was pulled automatically within three days because of non-performance, according to Choate.


"The system, while it's optimizing that client versus other clients against the base of consumers individually, is also helping to optimize that client's offers," he said. "[In the case of this client] the system has already rotated so that the version that is winning is getting the most exposure and the version that is losing is getting no exposure, and that's without any human touch."


The system uses Aptimus' database of 50 million addresses -- a combination of an internal list, and lists it has helped create for clients. Choate was unable to say how much duplication there is in the database.


Aptimus generally works with clients on a pay-for-performance basis.


The AptiMail announcement comes on the heels of a June 20 announcement in which Aptimus debuted an e-mail append service called AptiPend.


E-mail appending is where a direct mailer's house file of postal addresses is matched to a file of supposedly opted-in e-mail addresses to add e-mail addresses to the postal records. Industry-wide, matches are said to be 5 percent to 10 percent, depending on the quality of the file. It is a controversial practice that is gaining wider acceptance among direct marketers.


Aptimus claims it has a database of 20 million e-mail addresses with postal information.


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