Primary Knowledge Closes Doors

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Online intelligence firm Primary Knowledge Inc. is out of business.


The New York company shuttered last week, becoming the latest casualty of capital markets that no longer humor Internet-only companies strapped for cash.


Primary Knowledge is likely to be joined by e-mail marketing services firm Radical Communication, Marina Del Rey, CA. Radical is on life support, sacking staff and waiting for additional funding to keep it alive.


Precise reasons for Primary Knowledge's closure are unknown, although a shortfall in venture capital was reportedly a main cause. Calls to the firm's Broad Street headquarters in New York's financial district were not returned.


The company reportedly laid off all but a skeleton crew of workers who are wrapping up details with clients.


Founded in June 1999, Primary Knowledge positioned itself as an outsourced provider of Internet-based business intelligence.


Headed by CEO Peter Adams, the company warehoused and mined data from log files, registration and transaction databases, ad servers, and outbound and inbound e-mail servers.


Such reporting and analysis tools for boosting return on investment were priced at $10,000 to $30,000 a month.


Only this winter, Primary Knowledge roped in Rockport Co. LLC, a Reebok International division, as a client.


The Marlborough, MA, footwear maker and retailer this year will build its house list of opt-in consumers at rockport.com. Primary Knowledge was commissioned to help with data warehousing, data mining and analysis and e-mail management.


Bolt Inc., an Internet portal for teen-agers, also uses Primary Knowledge to gather clickstream data about visitors to bolt.com.


Early on, Primary Knowledge caught the eye of technology research firm Forrester Research.


"For an intelligence infrastructure that ties significant online events to unique visitors ... Primary Knowledge offers a soup-to-nuts solution," Forrester said in a recommendation.


The company attracted $15 million in funding from Oak Investment Partners; VantagePoint Venture Partners; and marketing executives such as Jay Chiat, David Carlick, Bob Dorf, Martha Rogers and Don Peppers.


Major partners included DoubleClick, Responsys.com, Kana Communications, Dynamic Logic, Revenio, Bigfoot Interactive, Digital Impact, B2BWorks, ResponseLogic and AMS.


But Primary Knowledge acknowledged it had a perception problem.


"Our business model, differentiation and work output is not easily summed up," the company said in a marketing note for media planning and buying.


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