Yesmail Buy Boosts Traditional DM's Control of E-Mail

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InfoUSA's announcement last week that it will acquire Yesmail Inc. from CMGI Inc. is another example of a traditional direct marketing company asserting its dominance in the e-mail list brokerage and management space.


"It definitely does not surprise me," Jay Schwedelson, corporate vice president at list company Worldata, Boca Raton, FL, said of the acquisition. "I would say over the last 18 months the traditional list management and brokerage firms have solidified their hold on the e-mail list rental space. Everyone from DoubleClick to Naviant to Yesmail has sold their e-mail list management and brokerage divisions to traditional list firms that are now dominating the space."


Yesmail consists of an e-mail list brokerage and management division and an e-mail deployment and automation technology division.


The list brokerage and management division will keep its Chicago office but become part of Walter Karl Interactive, itself a division of infoUSA's Walter Karl Inc., Pearl River, NY. It will be run by Walter Karl president Ed Mallin.


Yesmail vice president Ed Henrich was named president of the San Francisco-based deployment division.


InfoUSA, Omaha, NE, said it will acquire Yesmail from Andover, MA-based CMGI for cash, though the purchase price was not disclosed.


This is not infoUSA's first purchase of an e-mail marketing solutions firm. It bought ClickAction in December and DoubleClick's e-mail list services division in March 2002.


Also last year, information solutions provider and credit reporting agency Equifax Inc. bought Naviant Inc. in August. Equifax gained an e-mail database of more than 100 million e-mail addresses in that transaction as well as 38 million postal addresses. And in May 2001, Experian bought 24/7 Media Inc.'s Exactis e-mail marketing division.


"It took a little while for the traditional companies to get into the game, but once they realized how similar the game was to the postal side it was just a matter of time before these companies began to take on a much more dominant role in the space," Schwedelson said.


Perhaps the lone holdout among standalone e-mail list firms is NetCreations with its PostMasterDirect e-mail list management and brokerage division, though the firm was purchased by Italian yellow pages and Internet service provider SEAT Pagine Gialle in February 2001.


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