*Buyersonline Infomercial Aims to Boost Membership 1,500%

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Buyersonline.com, a long-distance and Internet service provider, will launch a 30-minute infomercial in the first quarter of 2001 in an attempt to boost its membership from 20,000 to roughly 300,000 by year's end.


The infomercial will feature Hollywood celebrities Dick Clark, Della Reese and Marie Osmond giving personal testimonials detailing and praising Buyersonline and its rebate and customer incentive programs.


The company's Web site provides users with a shopping portal divided into 15 categories, including automotive, clothing, computers and electronics, and travel. Consumers who purchase products from the roughly 200 e-tailers offered at the portal receive varying rebates off Buyersonline's long-distance and Internet services for each dollar spent.


The infomercial will direct consumers to a toll-free number to register for the services.


"We would rather have them (consumers) call us, then visit the Web site, because we have a better chance of closing through phone sales," said Doug Smith, executive vice president at Buyersonline, Salt Lake City.


"We decided to do a 30-minute infomercial because it provides us with the time to explain why our program is unique," Smith said. "Buyersonline.com cannot run a short commercial like our larger-name competitors, because we do not have the branding yet to do so."


The infomercial, which is being produced internally, will target Internet-savvy families with a head of household who is 25 to 55 years old and an annual household income of $30,000 to $100,000. The infomercial will run on national and local television stations, Smith said, though specific stations have not been determined yet. He added that the ad will run initially in a variety of time slots throughout the day and will be narrowed down based on response rates.


Until now, the 5-year-old company has attracted membership exclusively through word of mouth, Smith said. Buyersonline recently completed a test run of the infomercial, he said, but he declined to disclose the results. The company also plans to test a 60-second teaser version of the long-form infomercial early in the first quarter.


Buyersonline eventually expects to launch a direct mail campaign, Smith said, adding that it is too early to mention specifics.
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