Bits and Bytes for May 28, 2004

Viral and Buzz Marketing Association Launches

Less than a week after the launch of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), another group aimed at corralling the viral phenomenon, the Viral and Buzz Marketing Association (VBMA), has emerged.

The group aims to encourage collaboration, develop best practices and dispel myths surrounding viral marketing, thereby giving it more credibility in the eyes of traditional marketers.

Founding members of the international organization include GD&SM Advertising (U.S.), VM-People (Germany), GoViral (Denmark), KetaKeta (Israel), Spheeris (France). The United Kingdom is the most well-represented country, though, with members such as DMC, cpd-travissully, Cake, the Viral Factory, meme digital and Maverick Media.

“Viral and buzz marketing is not new, but the use of these consumer-to-consumer techniques is becoming more prevalent, particularly as the falling effectives of traditional, marketing-to-consumer techniques is making advertisers look seriously at other ways to build brand and shift product,” said Justin Kirby, managing director of DMC.

Intelliseek’s Pete Blackshaw, one of the founding members of the U.S.-based WOMMA, describes VBMA as a complementary organization with similar objectives.

“What’s powerful here is that there’s real momentum and focus in this discipline, and I think we’ll see a ‘rising tide lifts all boats’ scenario unfold,” said Blackshaw.

WebSideStory Files For IPO

Web site analytics company WebSideStory has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise up to $57.5 million in an initial public offering.

WebSideStory’s filing follows in the footsteps of a number of Internet and technology-related companies that have filed for IPOs recently. These include anti-spam company Brightmail, comparison-shopping engine and Google, giving rise to speculation about a possible bubble such as that of the late 1990s. (Brightmail later abandoned its IPO plans, agreeing to be acquired by Symantec.)

According to the company’s S-1 statement filed with the SEC, it had a net loss of $1.9 million on revenue of $16.4 million in 2003. WebSideStory became profitable in the first quarter of 2004, with net income of $128,000 on revenue of $5 million.

This is WebSideStory’s second try for the public markets. The company had filed for an IPO in April 2000. However, it withdrew this registration six months later citing “unfavorable market conditions.”

Founded in 1996, the San Diego-based company provides Web analytics services to more than 500 clients including Walt Disney Internet Group, Nokia, Best Buy and Cisco Systems. WebSideStory released a simplified version of its Online Analytics 2004 product in February.

The company said in its S-1 statement that $16.75 million of the net proceeds of the offering would be used for the mandatory redemption of the outstanding shares of its redeemable preferred stock. The remaining proceeds would be used for the expansion of services or technologies, for the possible acquisition of other companies and for working capital needs.

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