Sale Paves Way for New Online Services

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Alternate Marketing Networks' sale of its offline sampling business to Valassis Communications last month will help it focus on new online services and a new Web site.


The new site, Ilikesamples.com, will not be fully operational until later this year, but promises more targeted marketing than offline sampling programs, said Phillip Miller, chairman and CEO of Alternative Marketing Networks, Grand Rapids, MI.


Alternative Marketing said selling its in-home sampling programs to Valassis will help it focus on its Suburban Newspaper Advertising Network. The division sells advertising in newspapers and inserts, which Miller believes will translate to ad purchases by newspaper Web sites.


"Newspaper Web sites sell local advertising, but they are still virgin territory to explore and use more for national advertisers," Miller said.


Miller believes Alternate Marketing has an edge over some ad sales companies because it works with newspapers, and has an understanding of why their Web sites exist. "They are there for informing, they're readers -- they are not an online company. We are selling to offline companies, not dot-coms," he said.


Miller said AdTrackMedia.com, purchased by Alternate Marketing in May, will facilitate the online ad sales, as well as tracking capability. AdTrackMedia's ad serving software will allow Alternate Marketing to service newspapers both offline and online. "Our vision is that the two advertising worlds will have to meet at some point in the future," Miller said.


The deal also benefits Valassis, a leading provider of Sunday newspaper coupons, newspaper-delivered product samples and online promotions.


"We look forward to adding the strengths of door-to-door delivery to our current in-home sampling program," said Alan Schultz, chairman and president/CEO of Valassis, Livonia, MI, which had revenues of $795 million in 1999.
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