Execs & Accounts for August 16, 2004

Blockbuster tapped Avenue A/Razorfish to provide digital marketing services for its new DVD-by-mail service, Blockbuster Online.

The relationship starts with a large interactive campaign that will launch this week. Avenue A/Razorfish managed the buying and placement of ads on Excite, iVillage, American Greetings Network and AtomShockwave. Sponsored search campaigns are now underway.

“We are excited about the rollout of Blockbuster Online’s digital marketing campaign later this week and look forward to working together to reach their advertising goals,” said David Friedman, president of Avenue A/Razorfish’s central region, which includes offices in Chicago and Austin. Blockbuster is based in Dallas.

Blockbuster Online is also getting big play through marketing relationships with AOL and MSN. It is closely modeled on services such as that offered by Netflix, a company widely believed to have taken a big bite out of the market for in-store video rentals.

The client win is among the first announced since Avenue A merged with SBI.Razorfish to create behemoth interactive firm Avenue A/Razorfish.

America Online signed a deal to use Girafa’s thumbnail search images on its CompuServe, Netscape, AIM and ICQ properties.

Using Girafa’s service, search users can view thumbnail-sized images of Web pages after typing in a search term but before clicking through. This graphical peek at search results is intended to help users find relevant results faster, and to reduce their reliance on the ‘back’ button.

“Giving users a quick visual snapshot of the Web sites in their search results is one more way that Netscape continues to improve to meet the needs of our users,” said Jeremy Liew, senior VP and general manager of Netscape.

Similar offerings have been rolled out this year by AskJeeves and Viewpoint.

BURST! Media, Electronic Arts, Hollywood.com, and WWE are now offering Unicast’s Video Commercial ad format to advertisers. The four entertainment publishers’ support gives the new unit a solid boost in a marketplace that’s struggling with how best to incorporate video into online advertising. The Video Commercial launched in January.

Choire Sicha has dropped his role as editor of media gossip blog Gawker and taken up the reigns as editorial director of the whole Gawker Media franchise. The new job will make Sicha lead editor of a group of sites that includes D.C. political blog Wonkette, L.A.-based Hollywood blog Defamer, gadget site Gizmodo and the porn-obsessed Fleshbot.

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