*Experian Expands Catalog Database

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NEW ORLEANS -- Experian is expected today to reveal the expansion of its Z-24 cooperative catalog database's platform and modeling capabilities at the Direct Marketing Association's 83rd annual conference & exhibition in New Orleans.

"We are dramatically reinvesting in Z-24," said Peter O'Neil, senior vice president and general manager at Experian, Orange, CA. "The expansion is a response to what Z-24 participants have been asking for."

Another motivator for the expansion was the need to compete with DoubleClick's Abacus Alliance catalog database, which O'Neil said has had an edge over Z-24 in the past. Like its competitor, the Z-24 database will allow catalogers to submit five years of transactional data, as opposed to the current two-year maximum. Experian expects to start accepting the additional data by December.

Participants can decide whether to supply more data. Additionally, Z-24 is moving from a monthly update schedule to a daily schedule so clients can send data as frequently as they choose. Also, catalogers will be able to add and link Web and brick-and-mortar transactions to their Z-24 files for the first time.

"In the past, we focused on the catalog and the orders coming through traditional catalog channels," O'Neil said. "With this expanded capability, we'll be able to house Internet and retail transactions as well."

Meanwhile, Experian has increased its analytical modeling staff from about 10 people to 60 to provide better custom models for Z-24 clients, O'Neil said.

Unlike the Abacus database, the Z-24 participants are not anonymous.

Experian's Z-24 database contains more than 590 catalog titles, serving 65 million households. Participants include Barnes & Noble, Brooks Brothers, Columbia House, Crate & Barrel, Eddie Bauer, FAO Schwarz, Lillian Vernon, Macy's By Mail, Nordstrom, Pottery Barn, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Sharper Image, Talbots and Williams-Sonoma.

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