***AudioBase Slashes Marketing Staff

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Web audio marketing and technology company AudioBase, Sausalito, CA, has laid off nearly its entire marketing department, citing lack of funding, the company said late today. The move is indicative of the current state of affairs in many online technology companies whose marketing budgets have all but dried up.

The company, which has about 80 employees, said it laid off 14 marketing staffers because it needed to focus its efforts on servicing its existing client base of 15 companies and improving its technology.

"It's a tough time for a lot of companies like us," said Colette Ballou, director of public relations. "But this move is not to say we are not in a good state. It's not that marketing isn't important, but we have a lot of great clients and we want to focus more on building and implementing."

Ballou said capital was available, but it came "at too high of a price." This situation has become more commonplace with companies seeking future funding, in that investors are still willing to put up capital but for more control of the company.

For the time being, Ballou said, the company will retain its internal public relations staff and its external PR agency, Edelman PR Worldwide. Retaining an external PR agency can cost a company an average of $10,000 to $20,000 per month.

Meanwhile, the company was set to launch two new audio-enabled sites: one for Hanover Direct this past weekend and another for Macy's by the end of this month.

AudioBase has the ability to serve Java-based audio to enhance most aspects of a user's Web experience, from adding audio clips to banner ads to voice-guided assistance that helps a user through an e-commerce transaction.

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