DMA Announces AIM Acquisition at Fall Show

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SAN FRANCISCO -- DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen announced yesterday at the 81st Annual Conference & Exhibition that the DMA has acquired the Association for Interactive Media, a trade association of close to 250 companies doing business on the Internet.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, AIM's members include MindSpring, Yoyodyne, Hotmail, Bloomberg Citicorp, Nielson Media Research and Sportsline USA. The group was established in 1993.

"AIM is the old dog of the new media business," Andy Sernovitz, president of AIM, said at a press conference. He stressed that AIM is a commerce-oriented trade group. "We're not techies. We're the people who have to go to work every day and figure out how to make a profit in this crazy business."

Neither Wientzen, nor Sernovitz would give financial details.

"There are financial issues involved. Technically and legally, it's an acquisition," he said, adding that AIM employees will now be DMA employees.

Meanwhile, after an opening percussion and dance act by the group Rhythm

Slam, Wientzen had little new to say in his kickoff speech to the packed house of more than 3,000 direct marketers. He stressed the increasing global nature of the direct marketing industry, the growing importance of interactive media and the need for increased efforts surrounding privacy.

"The Net is direct marketing on steroids," Wientzen said, paraphrasing Yoyodyne president Seth Godin. On privacy, he said the DMA will "assure that its members adhere to high ethical standards. The industry has never been the focus of policy issues as threatening as this one."

Wientzen urged the industry to step up its self-regulation efforts "or government will regulate."

Former baseball commissioner Peter Uberroth followed Wientzen's speech with an inspirational address in which he challenged direct marketers to lead the United States into the 21st century with, among other things, integrity.

"I'm optimistic about this country," said Uberroth, who now is investor

managing director of the Contrarian Group Inc. "You're competitive and you care enough to make this a great country."

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