E-mailChannel Debuts MailMutt Service

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EmailChannel Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla., yesterday rolled out MailMutt, a new service that allows consumers to search through a database of commercial e-mails and use the offers and incentives that interest them without having to turn over their e-mail addresses to the marketers.

Consumers who visit MailMutt.com will be able to search for text and HTML e-mail offers by category or keyword, or by e-mail type -- newsletters or campaign mailings. There are 15 categories ranging from arts and automotive to shopping and travel. The consumers can explore the offers without having to register for individual mailing lists.

"MailMutt is about access, privacy, convenience and control," said John Lawlor, president of EmailChannel, an e-mail marketing service provider. "We put all of this into the hands of the consumer and at the same time provide an added channel for direct marketers to reach their audience."

The key to the program's success, however, is twofold -- getting marketers to place their ads in the MailMutt database and attracting consumers to the site. On the business side, EmailChannel is targeting direct marketers, e-mail marketers and those companies who have not done any significant e-mail marketing but are interested in trying a low- or no-cost campaign.

To entice these firms into the system, MailMutt is allowing marketers to submit their e-mail offers free of charge from now until the end of 2000. In addition, EmailChannel and MailMutt are claiming to offer marketers a chance at reaching a broader level of Internet users beyond just their internal customer files.

"If a marketer sends a promotional e-mail to 10,000 people, chances are only those 10,000 people are going to see that promotional e-mail, but MailMutt changes that," Lawlor said. "MailMutt now enables marketers to reach an infinite number of consumers with their messages."

The e-mails that appear on the site during its launch are offers from lists that MailMutt has registered. MailMutt has not yet received any e-mail submissions, Lawlor said.

MailMutt is being promoted to consumers in three ways: EmailChannel is striking deals with some of its clients to include a MailMutt banner in the bulk e-mailings it delivers for them, it is also placing ads on traditional consumer-oriented search engines and it has entered into affiliate agreements with other sites.

Lawlor said that while he expected the service to always remain free for consumers, it would eventually start charging marketers for placements. MailMutt is free to marketers now because the site is trying to build up its database. By early 2001, he added, it would move to a pay-for-placement and category sponsorship model

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