**WiredEmpire Goes 'R.I.P.' at Net.Marketing Show

BOSTON — The WiredEmpire booth stood stripped and empty on the last day of the DMA Net.Marketing Conference & Exhibition here. The licensor of e-mail marketing tools went out of business Monday afternoon, eliminating all 53 jobs, and its parent company, Marketing Services Group Inc., didn't tell employees at the show until the last minute.

A piece of paper with a hand-drawn tombstone was left on the booth's main table in reference to the company's downfall. “R.I.P. 9-25-00. Those who never take a shot have no chance to score,” the note read. The company's signage had been taken down, and only a few information kits remained behind a table at the booth.

The exhibit floor had a high number of e-mail marketing companies all trying to differentiate themselves in a sea of similar names with similarly themed business plans. None of the exhibitors next to WiredEmpire, including competitor MarketFirst, Mountain View, CA, would comment on the record, saying only that employees were there one day and gone the next.

“They gave away their business and cut their prices,” a competitor said. “Let that be a warning for others in the industry.”

Meanwhile, WiredEmpire's competitors said traffic at the show has been very light.

“There aren't any qualified leads here. No one's a decision maker,” one exhibitor said.

WiredEmpire, Burlington, MA, was part of Marketing Services Group Inc., a provider of integrated marketing solutions. MSGI Chairman/CEO Jeremy Barbera said the move demonstrates the company's “commitment to an accelerated path to profitability” and will report WiredEmpire as discontinued operations retroactive to the fiscal year that ended June 30.

“We recognize that our greatest competitive strengths lie in direct marketing,” Barbera said. “Recently, it has become clear that in today's marketplace, WiredEmpire’s prospects for profitability were not as strong as they needed to be.”

All fiscal information will be disclosed in the fourth quarter, and year-end earnings are expected to be released before the market opens today.

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