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DMI Finally Debuts 250,000-Name Catalog Link List

Acxiom Corp. subsidiary Direct Media Inc. (DMI) announced last week that its list of 250,000 e-mail addresses gathered through catalog-request service Catalog Link at www.cataloglink.com is on the market.

DMI, Greenwich, CT, had said that it would debut the list at the Direct Marketing Association's Net.Marketing conference in Miami in April, but it took longer than anticipated to prepare it for mailing, said Regina Brady, leader of DMI's interactive group.

Brady called the Catalog Link list significant because it is nontechnical. “The Catalog Link list is similar to conventional marketing response lists because it includes only people who are interested in shopping and catalogs,” she said.

Eric Zilling, vice president of ALC Interactive, the online arm of American List Counsel, Princeton, NJ, estimated that half of the e-mail lists on the market are nontechnical, “although we're talking about a very small number of lists,” he said.

Zilling agreed that as the Catalog Link list is made up solely of people who have ordered catalogs “theoretically, they should perform more like traditional direct mail buyers. The proof will be in the activity on the file,” he said. “This has been a long time coming. [DMI has] had an opt-in list for two years now.”

In fact, DMI has been building its e-mail list since it launched Catalog Link in late 1995. Brady said that in preparing to put the list on the market, DMI mailed it to ensure that the addresses are deliverable and to give recipients an opportunity to opt out of future mailings. Brady said 66 percent of the addresses gathered in 1995 still were deliverable.

She said 3 percent of the recipients clicked through to visit Catalog Link's opt-out page and just over 1 percent opted out. She said that the opt-out e-mail DMI received was “more reasonable than the mail from privacy zealots” that other e-mail marketers have experienced.

“From the very beginning, we received permission from these people [to mail them],” Brady said. “We were just making doubly sure that they hadn't changed their minds.”

Brady said that DMI plans to grow its e-mail business 25 percent to 30 percent this year, but declined to give details. “I'm just not ready to talk about that yet,” she said, “but that doesn't mean that there aren't things going on in the background.”

DMI is charging $150 per thousand names delivered to the Catalog Link list. The list will be managed by DMI's E-Mail Campaign Management (ECM) service. Catalog Link selects include apparel, computers, electronics, gifts, home/family, motivation and training, and recreation and hobbies. Brady said DMI is not charging for selects.

Stephanie Healy, interactive sales manager at Omaha Steaks, Omaha, NE, has said that Omaha Steaks tested 20,000 addresses from Catalog Link and received about a 5 percent click-through rate for more information on a free cutlery offer at www.omahasteaks.com. She said there were no negative responses that typically follow an e-mail drop.

“We're pretty happy with it. We saw a spike in sales, and I think it got more people comfortable with our site,” said Healy, who is planning a Father's Day campaign with DMI.

E-mail lists under management at ECM also include 275,000 subscribers to IDG Inc.'s TipWorld series newsletters at www.tipworld.com, Cambridge, MA-based Sentry Publishing's 50,000 subscribers to Software Magazine and 18,000 subscribers to Client Server Computing magazine, and a 60,000-name list called the Software Developers Opt-In E-Mail List whose owner asked DMI not to disclose his name.

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