IAR Bits and Bytes

Interep Cleans Up on Web Deals

New York-based Interep Interactive, the online unit of radio ad sales giant Interep, has brand-new representation deals with a host of online publishers.

For Web radio and streaming services firm Loudeye Technologies, Interep Interactive’s Winstar Interactive Media will work with the in-house ad team to sell streaming audio and attached video ads to national advertisers. The company offers companies a hosted, custom-branded Internet radio application. Clients include Virgin Atlantic’s Radio Free Virgin, Microsoft’s MSN and AOL Time Warner.

New York-based WIM also will represent AT&T Corp.’s ATT.Net site, which serves as the default landing page for AT&T’s ISP WorldNet. The company’s site appeared as number 21 in the most recent Jupiter Media Metrix ranking of the most-visited Internet sites.

Meanwhile, Interep Interactive’s Perfect Circle Media — which concentrates on representing financial services Web sites — signed Money.net, OTC Digest, Bullmarket, InvestmentHouse.com and GrowthReport.com.

At the same time, Interep Interactive’s Cybereps group added Woman Motorist to its Totalwoman network of female-oriented sites. The two-year-old ad network now contains 31 sites, which it says has little traffic overlap with Web sites like iVillage.

Interep Interactive, which was founded in 1997, has been ramping up the pace of its representation deals even as competing ad reps, like DoubleClick and 24/7 Real Media, have reduced their media sales operations in favor of their higher-margin technology businesses.

Interep purchased Winstar Interactive Media last year from broadband services firm Winstar Communications, then in bankruptcy proceedings (and now a unit of telecom player IDT.)

Trilegiant Buys Netcentives Patents

Incentive marketer Trilegiant Loyalty Solutions, which was spun out of Cendant Corp. in 2001 following a series of accounting investigations, is angling to beef up its online capabilities, purchasing the rights to bankrupt Web loyalty player Netcentives’s patents.

The patents, Nos. 5,774,870 and 6,009,412, jointly cover a “fully integrated, on-line interactive frequency and award redemption program,” which specifies a process by which a company can offer an online product catalog, check potential purchasers’ credit, and electronically issue a purchase order to the vendor.

The program also calculates award points, updates the award account of enrolled users, and communicates that number of awarded points to the user. Enrolled users may browse through an award catalog and electronically redeem an amount of awarded points towards an award. The program then electronically places an award redeeming order with the fulfillment house and updates the user’s award account.

In a nutshell, that process was the keystone of Netcentive’s business model, which also involved marketing such programs to consumers via email, and signing up corporate clients for internal-use versions of the system.

“We are thrilled to gain ownership over Netcentives’ intellectual property,” said Scott Lazear, senior vice president of strategic business development at Norwalk, Conn.-based Trilegiant. “Our clients and prospects are looking to us to provide them with feature rich, customized loyalty solutions that have a proven ROI. These patents allow us the freedom to develop those solutions, without restrictions, at a very compelling price.”

Additionally, Trilegiant said it would take over most of the licensing agreements struck by Netcentives. It also said it would pursue additional licensing opportunities — which often means persuading rivals with similar systems to pay royalties under the threat of patent litigation.

“Trilegiant Loyalty Solutions has followed the life of these patents since they were originally filed,” said Trilegiant Loyalty Solutions president Marti Beller. “We believe these are very strong patents and we plan to quickly capitalize on the competitive advantage that these patents naturally provide us in our marketplace.”

Amazing Media to Power Excite.com

Web portal Excite.com, now under the administration of onetime rival iWon.com as a part of Excite@Home ongoing bankruptcy sale, will feature advertising delivered by do-it-yourself ad player Amazing Media.

Fairfax, Va.-based Amazing Media, which previously had a relationship with iWon, will now sell inventory on Excite.com, which has consistently been one of the top-ten Internet portals for years.

Amazing Media provides online, automated self-service ad-buying, so that small- and medium-sized businesses — which would typically be overlooked or ignored by a major Web portal’s sales force — can still purchase rich media ads on a big-name property.

The company’s Web-based tool also lets the ad buyer design their rich media creative online.

The deal comes as the latest win for Amazing Media, which in the past several months has signed iWon.com, Weather.com, eBay, and the San Francisco Chronicle to its client roster.

“Amazing Media has enjoyed a very successful partnership with iWon over the last few months, and we’re very excited about taking that relationship to a new level through The Excite Network,” said Amazing Media chief executive Todd Schmidt. “This gives us the opportunity to expand the reach of AdVariant to potentially thousands of new users, in the process supplying [small- and medium-sized businesses] with the best tool available for their online advertising needs.”

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