*Engage, Yesmail to Create Turnkey Opt-In Program

Online ad network Engage Business Media is partnering with e-mail marketer yesmail.com to develop a turnkey opt-in program that will enable 225 Web sites that make up the business-to-business network to collect e-mail addresses that can be turned into revenue-generating lists.

Engage Business Media — a recently created ad network that focuses on Web sites targeting blue-collar industries such as agriculture, metals and manufacturing — and yesmail are expected to announce today that they will team up to help the network sites build and market opt-in e-mail lists.

Representatives from both companies said the 12 specialty markets that make up the ad network do not currently have any large-scale, permission-based e-mail lists. Cahners Business Lists maintains several lists that touch the automotive and other manufacturing markets, but the majority of its names, as Cahners often explains, were collected through opt-out registrations.

When Engage Business Media formed in March, none of its network sites was opting in e-mail names. The division, which consists of sites such as usautonews.com, chemindustry.org and woodindustry.net, quickly recognized an opportunity to bring e-mail marketing to these lower-profile, but nevertheless active, industries.

“In BTB advertising, where Web sites are more niche-focused, vertical e-mail opt-in lists can be extremely valuable,” said Joanne Currie, general manager at Engage Business Media, Cambridge, MA. “For our Web publishers, building opt-in e-mail lists will provide them with a new advertising revenue stream.”

The lists also will provide additional income to yesmail, which will manage the lists and outgoing e-mail campaigns, and Engage Business Media, which will serve as the formal intermediary between yesmail and the 225 network sites, and will have an additional selling point to potential network advertisers.

“We had no idea how strong e-mail was going to be or how valuable it is to the marketers in the BTB space,” Currie said. “Fifty percent of the request proposals that come in to Engage Business Media are for e-mail names.”

Network advertisers have told Engage that they want to reach industry players through a combination of three vehicles — banners, e-mail newsletters and opt-in e-mail names. Prior to the yesmail partnership, Currie said, “we couldn't fulfill that third component.”

The new venture provides yesmail with an “extensive reach” into 12 verticals — agriculture, automotive, building, chemical, food and hospitality, healthcare, information technology, legal, two categories of small-office and home-office firms, run-of-business and telecommunications — to which it previously had little or no meaningful access.

“What we are to Yesmail is a way for them to get out of the gate right away and collect a ton of names in BTB,” Currie said.

Tony Priore, senior vice president for marketing at yesmail.com, said his firm partners with 150 individual Web sites to help them develop and market e-mail lists, but he said this deal significantly and rapidly expands that part of yesmail's business.

“It's a big, big jump-start into the BTB area,” Priore said. “We get access to a lot of companies that we would have had to go after on a [one-at-a-time] basis.”

Engage Business Media and yesmail, both of which are majority owned by CMGI Inc., said they expect the venture to take at least 60 days before workable lists can be produced.

Currie predicted that the opt-in effort would result in the addition of between 150,000 and 200,000 e-mail names per month across the network. By year-end 2000, she said the combination of e-mail newsletters and opt-in e-mail lists would represent 70 percent of Engage Business Media's total business.

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