Digitrends to Sell Media Buyers Summit to Imark Communications

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Failed online marketing magazine publisher Digitrends LLC has announced plans to sell its Digitrends Media Buyers Summit to Imark Communications, a Natick, MA, organizer of conferences such as ITEC, @d:tech, ProjectWorld and Softworld.

The announcement comes just a week after Digitrends chairman Andrew Batkin sent an e-mail to subscribers alleging the theft of the Manhattan Beach, CA, company's database. Batkin did not name anyone, but the e-mail implied former employees.

The deal with Imark for the Digitrends Media Buyers Summit currently is limited to a letter of intent between the two parties. The conference in question, which targets interactive media buyers and sellers, was first hosted in the spring of 2000.

While terms of the deal are still in negotiation, Imark has agreed to jointly host the next Digitrends Media Buyers Summit with @d:tech. Imark this year bought @d:tech, a conference for the online advertising industry. The next @d:tech is in New York, running Dec. 4-6.

Batkin's e-mail announcing the Imark deal also confirmed that the spring Media Buyers Summit will be held June 4-6, 2002, in Los Angeles.

"In addition to this sale, Digitrends is looking at other opportunities to capitalize on the quality of Digitrends' assets, including the sale or license of Digitrends' Brand Leadership Forum, Digitrends magazine and the very valuable Digitrends circulation and online e-mail databases," Batkin said in his e-mail.

Digitrends magazine was a monthly in fourth quarter 2000 and then a quarterly this year until publication ceased with the March issue. The publisher also offered e-mail newsletters and conferences aimed at marketing executives.

Batkin is the only employee left at Digitrends. A former employee who preferred anonymity said 10 employees were laid off July 25 and are still owed back pay, commissions, expenses and compensation for vacation time.

Batkin did not return calls regarding the allegation.

Former Digitrends CEO and co-founder Rick Parkhill, now president of conference organizer Parkhill Productions, was dismissed in November.

The Digitrends employees allegedly were laid off for lack of funding and cash flow, the former employee said.

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