The coming of the Antichrist? Selling souls to the devil? In the editorial “Do I Hear Trumpets?”(www.dmnews.com/articles/2000-10-16/11131.html ) editor Ken Magill accused me of “punching the panic button,” selling out to the Evil Empire — at a fire-sale price, no less, compromising my long-held beliefs on e-mail privacy and betraying our management team for a fistful of silver.
The reality, however, is nowhere near as exciting. The fact is that the capital markets bailed out of the dot-com industry last spring, and the Internet advertising and marketing industry has been reeling ever since.
If our industry is going to make it through this storm, we’ve got to put our egos on the shelf and pull together to become as strong and efficient as we possibly can. Within the next 12 months, the Internet marketing industry is going to consolidate in the hands of a few major players, and heaven help the smaller companies that are left without a chair when the music stops.
So let me clear up some misperceptions:
Fiction: I panicked because we missed our third-quarter numbers.
Fact: Together with our board, I made a strategic decision to align our company with the strongest player in the Internet marketing business — a company with a $2.5 billion market cap and close to $1 billion cash in the bank. By bringing our two companies together, we’re going to be able to create the biggest and most responsive database of opt-in and double opt-in e-mail addresses, offering mailers more than 22 million names to choose from.
What’s more, we’ll be able to take our PostMasterDirect.com opt-in e-mail marketing service to the next level thanks to DoubleClick’s more than 200 sales reps, 24 international offices and world-class technology resources.
DoubleClick, for its part, will get the chance to add a new and exciting product to its stable of Internet advertising and marketing services, offering marketers a one-stop shop for reaching customers on the Net.
Fiction: I’m cashing out my stock and selling out my principles.
Fact: This is a stock-for-stock deal, and I’m not walking away with any money. I couldn’t sell my stock now even if I wanted to. As for my principles, I’m still as strongly committed to double opt-in for e-mail marketing as I ever was. Privacy isn’t just a nice thing for Internet consumers and privacy advocates, it’s a great deal for Internet marketers who finally have the ability to reach consumers who want to get their mail. It’s also the basis of a profitable business model that financial analysts believe will catapult our company to more than $65 million in sales this year.
Fiction: Once the DoubleClick deal closes, you’ll never hear from me again.
Fact: The reality is that I will become one of DoubleClick’s largest shareholders, its vice president of corporate development for e-mail and an adviser to its Privacy Advisory Board.
My position at DoubleClick will give me the opportunity to work with DoubleClick’s management team to create new products and identify promising companies that will help position DoubleClick for the future. I’ll also be a champion of e-mail privacy within DoubleClick and will work hard to help DoubleClick bridge its credibility gap with the Internet privacy community.
As a former business journalist, I understand better than anybody that the story of two market leaders joining forces in a tough economy is not nearly as glamorous as a corporate expose. But, as I wrote in our NetCreations Manifesto four years ago, the only way to win in the Internet business is by partnering.
DoubleClick chairman Kevin O’Connor, CEO Kevin Ryan and the rest of the DoubleClick management team deserve a lot of credit for persuading their board to buy a company headed by an outspoken privacy advocate who has publicly disagreed with the company’s policies in the past. For my part, I can tell you that our management team and I are looking forward to working with DoubleClick to create a winning solution for marketers, publishers and consumers alike.
• Rosalind Resnick