Egghead.com Taps Edith Roman for E-Mail Newsletter

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Egghead.com has named Edith Roman Associates Inc. to manage its 2.9 million-member opt-in e-mail newsletter program, which allows advertisers to display personalized text messages and hyperlinks to their Web sites.


"We want to be the people who introduce the customer to the advertiser and their products," said John Mitchell, marketing manager of Egghead.com, Vancouver, WA, a leading online discount retailer of computers, accessories, software and peripheral devices. "We want to get them to shake hands."


The electronic sponsorship program is an extension of Egghead.com's relationship with Edith Roman, Pearl River, NY. As Egghead.com's existing list broker and manager, Edith Roman also handles the online retailer's package insert program and postal lists.


"One of the biggest challenges on the Internet today is getting people to open, read and respond to e-mail messages," said Edith Roman president Stevan Roberts. "By leveraging Egghead.com's strong, personal relationship with their customers, advertisers can get their messages opened and read."


Credit card company Capital One, custom publisher Zine Zone and Real Networks have signed up as advertisers on the newsletter that informs about live auctions and offers on the Egghead.com site. Competitive advertisers are excluded.


Egghead.com said the newsletter's e-mail names are drawn from catalog requests, repeat bidders at the auctions, people who simply enter their e-mail address on the Egghead.come home page to receive the newsletter and actual buying customers.


A customer who has bought off the site and chooses to enter his e-mail address in a nonmandatory field at the bottom of order information page sees a pre-checked box that states, "Yes! Send me information on specials and upcoming sales at Egghead.com."


A pre-checked box for receiving information may not signify that the names are opt-in, according to Rosalind Resnick, president of Internet direct marketer NetCreations Inc., New York.


"Our view is that if a box is checked, then the list is opt-out because Internet users need to uncheck the box if they do not want to receive mailings from the list owner," said Resnick, adding that an affirmative action on the part of the consumer was necessary.


"Every newsletter sent by Egghead contains an opt-out link for those recipients who no longer wish to receive our newsletter," said John Mitchell, marketing manager at Egghead.


Edith Roman's Roberts said Egghead followed the current market standard for opt-in, naming Internet players like IDG, MacWorld Online, PC World Online, Netscape Enterprise Developer, and Network World Fusion -- all have pre-checked boxes.


Egghead.com switched to an Internet-only model a couple of years ago. For the first quarter of fiscal 2000 ending July 3, it reported revenues of $40.6 million, up 37 percent over the comparable period a year ago, with losses of $10.5 million, down 18 percent from the same quarter in 1998. The number of Egghead customer accounts reached 1 million for the first time, the company added.


Last month, Egghead.com announced its merger with online auction house Onsale. The $400 million merger seeks to boost both marketers' sales, club marketing budgets, attract more traffic and trim duplicative operating expenses. The new entity will operate under the Egghead.com moniker, though headquarters will be moved to Onsale's Menlo Park, CA, premises. Combined, the new entity this year is projected to top $500 million in sales.
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