Return Path, Veripost Merge

  |  October 29, 2001   |  Comments

The two will combine to tackle the nascent e-mail change of address space.

Two competitors in the nascent "email change of address" arena will band together to offer a single service for consumers and marketers, as Return Path and Veripost have agreed to merge.

Startups Return Path, headquartered in New York, and Superior, Colo.-based Veripost, arose to address a perceived need in the email marketing and CRM space for an offering like the change of address service offered by the U.S. Postal Service.

The idea is that marketers and email delivery firms incur a cost -- in time, CPM mailing fees, list quality, or simply bandwidth -- from bouncebacks from defunct email addresses. At least a portion of email bouncebacks are thought the result of recipients who change addresses and neglect to update their opt-in information with marketers -- and who would do so, if given the chance.

Now, the two companies say their combination will help promote such services. Combined, the new firm -- under the name Return Path -- will have about two million customers using the service, which will continue to be called Veripost. Consumers previously using Return Path will be switched over to Veripost's platform, which will serve as the sole system for the merged company.

"Our two companies share a common vision and strong management across the board," said Return Path chief executive Matt Blumberg, who remains the company's top exec. "By joining efforts we leverage our respective strengths and raise the value proposition significantly for existing and prospective clients and consumers."

While Blumberg will continue in a managerial position, Veripost chief executive Eric Kirby will stay on as a member of the firm's board of directors.

The new entity will have about 120 clients and 35 partnerships with email, database and direct marketing resellers to resell the service. Those resellers include Acxiom, Experian, Harte-Hanks and DoubleClick, which is an investor in Return Path.

In addition to their flagship change of address services, both firms also offer email list cleaning, in which a company's email list is analyzed to identify and correct or forward undeliverable email addresses. Those practices will be integrated, the companies said.

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