Register.com Offers E-Mail Marketing Services

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Domain name registrar Register.com Inc. is expanding its offerings online with an e-mail marketing service for small businesses looking to build their customer databases on a boot-string budget.


A Constant Contact service will let small businesses build an e-mail database directly from its Web site. Roving Software, a Waltham, MA, provider of ready-made e-mail marketing services to companies like Intuit, Amazon, Staples and MasterCard, is behind the technology.


"We've established a strong base in the selling of domain names, and what we're really evolving into is to help people build their Web presence, really get them to use their names," said David Hirschler, general manager of global Web services of Register.com.


Targeting customers and prospects with relevant, eye-catching e-mail is increasingly important as the direct marketing clutter rises, even more so for small businesses without the wherewithal to finance loud e-mail campaigns.


According to Jupiter Research, the number of unwanted e-mails will grow to more than 845 billion messages, or 3,900 per user, in the next five years. It was 140 billion in 2001.


Constant Contact also comes amid media reports that Register.com is for sale. The company reportedly received a $320 million all-cash offer that was rejected as inadequate.


But a deal is not expected to disrupt Register.com's rollout of products. With Constant Contact, customers can design and deliver e-mail newsletters and promotions. Tracking is included in the package.


This extension into do-it-yourself e-mail resulted from company research that small businesses were looking for aids to communicate with customers. These businesses, however, cannot afford the services of interactive agencies or e-mail marketing firms.


To access Constant Contact, customers can go through their contact manager account. Like prospects, they also can visit Register.com's home page and click on the "Promote your Web site" tab.


Once on the relevant page, users can build an e-mail list and create newsletters and promotions. A campaign manager function automatically handles delivery and formatting, list management and results reporting.


Hirschler said Roving's software accommodates both tech-savvy users who wish to create their own look and feel for e-mails as well as people who prefer to stick to the listed HTML templates.


Pricing is simple, too. Businesses pay by the number of subscribers in their opt-in list. It runs $10 for 51 to 250 subscribers, $25 for 251 to 2,500, $50 for 2,501-5,000, $75 for 5,001-10,000, $150 for 10,001-25,000 and $250 for 25,001-50,000. There is a special quote for lists of more than 50,000 subscriber names.


All fees are monthly. Customers who pay in advance get a discount. Register.com also offers lists of up to 1 million e-mail addresses for businesses interested in renting names.


To market the service, Register.com will drop e-mails to a cross-section of its database of more than 1 million customers who bought Web addresses from the company. It will identify customers that have domain names and a Web presence. Other undisclosed online and offline programs are planned, too. A 60-day free trial is currently on.


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