iBelong Aims to Keep Graduates in College Spirit

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To encourage involvement among graduates, as many as seven college alumni associations are partnering with iBelong.com to launch direct marketing campaigns on April 15 aimed at steering graduates to their iBelong.com portals.

iBelong.com creates customized portals or Internet start pages for nonprofits, associations and businesses. The alumni associations at University of Missouri, William and Mary, Purdue University and as many as four other universities have created portals with iBelong and will work in conjunction with the site to deliver a CD-ROM package to a combined total of as many as 18,000 graduates.

Typically, alumni associations have difficulty enrolling graduates. By partnering with this portal provider they hope to capture more of this elusive market segment, said Bob Viney, director of corporate marketing at iBelong.com, Waltham, MA.

"They are the hardest group to keep in contact with," he said. "The kids move around a lot. Generally around their 10th anniversary they will get involved in joining. This [campaign] should be a win-win for the alumni associations and graduating seniors."

The "Graduating Seniors" CD-ROM will include discounted Internet service with LaserLink.net (which costs $14.95 to $17.95 per graduate), a vanity e-mail address reflecting the graduate's alma mater (such as wmalum.com for William and Mary graduates) and highlights of services students can receive at their respective alumni sites. These services include an online career placement office and access to other alumni old and new.

To distribute the discs, the alumni associations will deliver the package directly to seniors in their departing packages. There are plans to post collateral for the program at events like "graduating senior send-offs" and within alumni offices on the campuses.

Graduates who register at the portals will receive an Air Check that offers discounted airline fares ($100 off a purchase of a ticket valued at $500 or more) at seven major airlines. A sweepstakes, running from April 15 until July 15, for a $2,500 shopping spree for one graduate at each participating college will coincide with the distribution of the discs.

At press time, iBelong.com was working to provide portals and start-up pages for 52 groups, which serve 27 million members.

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