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ALC-NY Aims to Wipe Out Dormant Exchanges

ALC of New York LLC has formed the listXchange namebank, an online service that will let member mailers sign on and swap unused exchange balances. The service is scheduled to debut June 1.

“Basically, what this does is take the existing list exchange landscape and expand the borders,” said Andy Ostroy, chairman/CEO of ALC of New York LLC.

The concept behind the listXchange namebank is that mailers often get stuck with owed exchanges that they cannot use because the list has stopped working for them, Ostroy said. By joining the service, mailers can deposit those balances into the central repository at www.listxchange.com and withdraw the equivalent number of names.

At least one cataloger is optimistic about the concept.

“My simple point of view on this is that if I have dead exchange balances, it's a way of monetizing those balances that I was not going to be able to do anything with,” said Mark Friedman, chief marketing officer of Brooks Brothers, New York. “The opportunity here is to take something that had little or no value to me and at no risk turning it into something that does have some value. There's really no downside.”

Of course, to deposit names, the list owner that owes the names must be a listXchange participant, too. Only listXchange members can access the namebank, and all members sign an agreement before participating.

Like many cooperative databases, mailers will be able to block competitors from getting their names.

Industry participation likely will make or break listXchange namebank.

“The key here is reaching critical mass,” Ostroy said. “The only reason that this product will not eventually work is if it lacks membership.”

He estimated that listXchange namebank could succeed with a few hundred participants but said that the more numerous and diverse the members, the better it will be.

The fee for using the service will be $40 per thousand, but the first 100 charter members will pay $35/M, and ALC of New York clients and corporate American List Counsel clients will pay $30/M.

Several list owners have agreed to participate, including Gump's by Mail; Hammacher Schlemmer; Garnet Hill; Brooks Brothers; Appleseed's; International Male; Smith & Hawken; Sensational Beginnings; RedEnvelope Gifts; Paul Fredrick Menstyle; Domestications; and Arthur Beren Shoe.

ALC of New York will demonstrate listXchange namebank June 5 at the Direct Marketing Association's Annual Catalog Conference in Boston and hopes to enroll several hundred members by Aug. 1.

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