Retention Info Helps uBid Snare New Subscribers

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Online auction site uBid.com has added 4,000 subscribers a month since it began working with YesMail to enhance its e-mail alerts three months ago.


"By working with YesMail, we've turned our profile data from our retention efforts into targeting criteria for our e-mail acquisition campaigns," said Alan Cohen, uBid.com's senior vice president of marketing. "Now we can cost-effectively use e-mail to acquire new customers."


Though it had always sent e-mails confirming bids and concluded sales, uBid worked with YesMail to add tracking and reporting information. The alerts, which go out four times a week to 750,000 people, feature dynamic content and are sent in text and HTML versions. They are timed to give customers enough time to bid on a particular item. UBid.com auctions generally last less than a day, with the average auction live for 12 hours.


The e-mail effort is designed not only to bring in new subscribers but to boost participation in its open auctions and raise margins by driving up bidding. UBid.com has more than 3 million registered users and is the second-largest online auction site behind eBay.


When someone signs up for an alert, Cohen said, they fill out a form detailing their preferences and which categories interest them. When items meeting those preferences come up for auction, an e-mail notifies the recipient. Anyone can sign up for alerts, he said, but only registered users can bid for items.


UBid.com also is developing a service that will enable users to receive alerts through Microsoft's MSN Messenger and Windows Messenger products as well as on mobile devices. The alerts will feature outbid notices, winner notification and notification when similar products to ones previously bid on come up for auction. Users must be registered with Microsoft's .Net service to take advantage of the new service.

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