LA Group Extends DRTV Reach to Net

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LA Group Inc., Rochester, NY, will launch its newest direct response television-related Web site,, in early March. The company acquired the domain name in August for a reported $5 million to transform it into a DRTV portal where visitors can compare the quality and value of products sold direct to consumers on television.

The company said it had secured marketing agreements with heavyweights America Online, Yahoo, Moviefone, Compuserve, ICQ, Netscape, Digital City and Spinner. These agreements call for banner advertisements, pop-up screens and preferred placement on query searches.

The firm has been collecting addresses for months from surfers who visit A pop-up box asks them to enter their e-mail addresses and other basic information. The company hopes to alert customers to new products and sales as well as feature marketing partners on mass mailings.

LA Group has been in the business of alternatively delivering products sold through DRTV to consumers for nearly six years. The company started with outlet stores in malls across the country but found that increased expenditures on overhead and rental space in the malls made business only moderately profitable.

CEO Dan Fasano said the potential of the Web drove their operations onto the Internet with the Web site, which offers products direct to the consumer for purchase from several DRTV companies, including Igia and Ronco. LA Group also runs Ron Popeil's Ronco Web site.

"We have had up and running for about a year and a half and have had considerable success," said LA Group president Frank Costanzo. "The new site,, will incorporate some of the same ideas but will act as a portal to other companies' Web sites that sell their products direct through television."

According to Costanzo, profits from the site will be generated through marketing and revenue sharing with the other sites.

"We can go two ways with click throughs," he said. "We can have deals where we get revenue based on the number of products people purchase

by reaching a site through the portal or we can simply charge by the number of click-throughs."

Costanzo said three other ways of increasing revenue will be:

• Selling ad space for banners.

• Working out deals for placing certain products high on query searches.

• Showcasing products on the splash page as the featured product of the day, week or month.

"This is a great site to work with because it attracts any consumer who sees similar products sold through infomercials," said Costanzo. "If they see two different mops or juicers or anything, they can go to our site, see price and performance comparisons and make an educated buy by clicking through to that company's site."

The site also will have an as-yet-unnamed sister site that will allow inventors to try and sell their product ideas. This inventor's marketplace will provide DRTV entrepreneurs will legal information and paperwork and a direct line to the LA Group or any of their partners for eventual manufacturing and distribution. The company also plans to incorporate Webcasting abilities into the site and will have streaming video clips to coincide with as many products as possible within the first 30 days of operation.

"Video is essential," said Costanzo. "Consumers always want to see the infomercials for information, testimonials and on this site, specifically, to recognize the products they've seen on infomercials before and are interested in locating on our site. With so many traditional ads driving site Web hits, this site will act in much the same fashion with DRTV ads from many companies driving consumers to our site to compare and shop."

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