Audio Book Club Taps Dotomi for Online Work

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Audio Book Club Inc. will use Dotomi Direct Messaging to deliver permission-based messages sent through banner ads to its membership.


The Dotomi Inc. technology lets the club target personal messages to its members, offering audio books based on their individual interests. Going live in mid-July, these banners are unlike the typical, non-personal ones that populate the Internet today.


"The data that the marketer has on the consumers enable the messages to be relevant, personal, timely and intelligent," said John Federman, president/CEO of Dotomi, Boston. "It allows the marketer to engage in retention-based marketing that fully complements everything they do in their direct marketing."


The Dotomi Direct Messaging banner can contain a message of the marketer's choice, with a call to action suited to the ad campaign's purpose. Invariably, the banners will mention the online user's name. In effect, Dotomi has transformed the banner ad into a personal message window, combining the benefits of a display ad with e-mail marketing.


Its banners appear on publisher sites like Gannett's online network, The New York Times' nytimes.com, Primedia's About.com and the MaxOnline.com network that includes Cheaptickets.com, Dilbert.com, Edgar Online, Billboard.com and other sites. Dotomi has distribution deals with these publishers.


"Publishers that are part of the distribution network are able to read the presence cookie -- it's not a tracking cookie," Federman said. "We're not following the consumer across the Web, building a profile off that. There's no invasion of the consumer's privacy."


The Audio Book Club, like other Dotomi clients, will pay only for traffic exposed to the Dotomi Direct Messaging banners or those consumers who engage with the unit. A special, undisclosed charter rate for prospective Dotomi clients is available for only a month.


Owned by MediaBay Inc., Audio Book Club is the leading direct marketer of audio books. Its house file has more than 2.5 million names. Like most continuity-based outfits, the club needs to work hard to retain customers. It is here that Dotomi helps online. Dotomi Direct Messaging uses data willingly offered by consumers when asking advertisers for more information about a product or service.


Using Dotomi's technology also lets the marketer retain, upsell or cross-sell to customers via prompt delivery of information without cluttering the inbox.


For Audio Book Club, Dotomi offers a Direct Messaging Center giving customers a central inbox to retrieve online messages, change preferences, forward membership to friends or even opt out. This is all within the banner ad.


Dotomi Direct Messaging is opt-in only. Consumers can opt out from the Direct Messaging banner using the menu rollover. The TrustE privacy seal program recently certified Dotomi Direct Messaging.


Founded last year, Dotomi also has offices in New York and Tel Aviv. Since its launch in Israel, more than 350,000 people have been contacted in that country using Dotomi Direct Messaging. These consumers have granted permission to Dotomi client companies operating in Israel, including Tower Records, Meridian Hotels, iBooks, Blockbuster Video and American Express Co.


"While we make it very easy and obvious on how a consumer can opt out, there's been only 88 people who've opted out in Israel," Federman said. "We're launching in the U.S. in a couple of weeks."


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