Aptimus to Acquire XMarkstheSpot

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Aptimus Inc., Seattle, an online direct marketing network, said it would acquire XMarkstheSpot, a cost-per-acquisition network, for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close by the end of next week.

Tim Choate, Aptimus' chairman/CEO, would not say how much his company is paying for XMarkstheSpot, but he did say that it would be "a small amount." The acquisition, he said, gives Aptimus technology that it otherwise would have had to develop itself.

"We recently moved to a network model," Choate said, "but don't have all the technology. They built the technology we were planning to build."

He noted that the acquisition gives Aptimus a six- to 12-month lead on developing technology to support its network strategy.

Aptimus changed its name in October from FreeShop.com Inc. and changed its strategy to a direct marketing network approach.

Under the terms of the acquisition, most of XMarkstheSpot's staff in San Francisco will be retained. Choate would not say how many, if any, employees would be laid off.

XMarkstheSpot delivers opt-in leads to both online and offline customers on a pay-for-performance basis. The company said its permission-marketing network mirrors Aptimus' in that marketers acquire new customers, consumers are presented with offers and distribution partners share in the cost-per-action results.

"Their technology will be at the center of our network," Choate said. "We had a strong need for a technological partner like XMarkstheSpot."

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