XMarkstheSpot for New VentureDirect Leads

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Direct marketing heavyweight VentureDirect Worldwide announced last week a partnership with XMarkstheSpot, which bills itself as the Web's first cost-per-acquisition network for direct marketers.

Under the deal, XMarkstheSpot will drive leads on a cost-per-acquisition basis to VentureDirect's business-to-consumer and business-to-business lead generation sites, www.FreeForum.com and www.B2BFreenet.com.

Between the two sites, VentureDirect hands off 200,000 leads per month to clients, said Rich Baumer, president of VentureDirect, New York. He declined to predict the lead volume that the XMarkstheSpot deal will add.

"It's an extension of a service we already offer," he said, adding that XMarkstheSpot's technology was an important part of the deal.

"There's so much technology out there, your eyes get crossed just trying to figure out what it all is," Baumer said. "XMarkstheSpot's technology enables us to take all the lead-generation offers we have and extend the reach of those offers to many other quality sites."

In particular, XMarkstheSpot's technology allows users to respond to multiple offers from multiple advertisers by filling out a single form. As a result, it gives XMarkstheSpot's publisher clients the ability to turn a single user into revenue from multiple advertisers.

Lead costs through FreeForum and B2BFreenet will vary case by case depending on how strong or soft the offers are. They generally are $2 to $10, said Tom Storm, sales manager, FreeForum.com and B2BFreenet.com.

"Our clients can know the fixed rate of what acquiring customers will be," Storm said.

And while XMarkstheSpot claims it helps publishers better monetize their traffic, it also said the cooperative nature of its technology gives advertisers a more effective way to acquire customers.

"Remote registration drivers allow us to auto-register users. It allows users to respond to several offers at once," said Gavin Sachs, marketing and communications manager at XMarkstheSpot, San Francisco. Users can respond to both online and offline offers at XMarkstheSpot.com or at co-branded sites such as www.pch.com, Publishers Clearing House's Web site.

Sachs said his company has received 200,000 unique visitors and has delivered 700,000 leads since February.

"We're an online lead generator," Sachs said. "They're using us as a pay-for-performance tool. It's risk-free. Advertisers can list their offers on our site without paying for it. They only pay when we deliver an opt-in user."

Information about consumers who opt in to the XMarkstheSpot network is broken down according to demographics and personal interests.

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