LifeMinders to Launch Wireless Delivery Service With New Acquisition

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With its purchase last Friday of wireless weather forecaster WITI Corp., e-mail marketing firm LifeMinders.com will be able to deliver personalized wireless messages to its members.


"This acquisition gives us the platform to offer [weather] forecasts, warnings and alerts immediately to our 12.5 million members, as well as the customers of our business-to-business partners, wherever and whenever they need it," said Stephen R. Chapin Jr., president/CEO of LifeMinders.com, Herndon, VA. "And our database infrastructure will enable us to quickly expand our wireless offerings to all 15 lifestyle categories."


LifeMinders.com has started to query its members about their interest in receiving wireless weather updates. Scott Sutherland, communications director at LifeMinders.com, said that over the next 30 days, the company would begin developing that same service for its other categories, which include entertainment, home, pets and personal finance.


The purchase of Boulder, CO-based WITI ends LifeMinders.com's months-long search for a wireless partner. "Entering the wireless arena has been part of LifeMinders' strategy since last year," said Sutherland. "We wanted to start offering a daily product and asked ourselves 'What product could we deliver that our members would want to receive every day?'" Weather updates were among the most requested information of LifeMinders.com members. In WITI, an 11-year-old firm with a specialization in both wireless delivery and weather forecasting, LifeMinders.com saw an obvious "natural fit," he said.


Several firms are turning their sights to wireless marketing as a way to augment existing campaigns. Among several unique features, wireless communications equipment can provide marketers with details about where the users are physically located throughout the day, a more dynamic piece of information than just a static home address.


Sutherland said LifeMinders.com is aware of the more sensitive nature of wireless contact and will be vigilant against over-burdening its members. The company will deliver wireless messages to only those members who specifically request it.


"It's stuff people ask us to send them," he said. "It's not a situation where we are delivering messages that our members have not requested."


During the first quarter, LifeMinders.com added 5.5 million new members, increasing its membership by almost 80 percent. It has agreements with major advertisers, such as Universal Studios, Starwood Hotels and PETsMART.com, and is developing a new business-to-business outsourcing model.


This program, which the company is close to announcing, will permit other Web sites to use LifeMinders.com technology, for a fee, to develop their own lifestyle marketing campaigns. Sutherland added that several such agreements are pending but that he was unable to provide further details until the deals closed.
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