IAR Bits and Bytes

Register.com Debuts E-Mail Marketing Service In its attempts to diversify from the sluggish domain-registry business, Register.com said on Thursday that it would begin offering email marketing services via a partnership with Roving Software.

The deal will give Register.com small-business customers access to Constant Contact, Roving Software’s email marketing product. It gives businesses the capability of creating an email database directly from their Web sites, and then sending and tracking email marketing messages.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

In the past year, as the market for domains has slowed, Register.com has offered a broader array of add-on services, including Web site building tools and email services. In the past week, the company has been the subject of two acquisition offers, including yesterday’s $264 million offer from a Zackfoot Investments subsidiary.

WeatherBug Allows Users to Switch Sponsor

In a move toward opt-in advertising, the makers of ad-supported Internet plug-in WeatherBug have given users the option of changing which advertiser sponsors the application.

AWS Convergence Technologies’ WeatherBug is a plug-in that displays real-time local weather information.

WeatherBug 5.0, released The new feature comes about a year after AWS allowed new users to choose from 11 categories (health, travel, computing, etc.) which of its 150 advertisers would be their sponsor. As sponsor, an advertiser’s Web site is launched when WeatherBug is installed for the first time and the company’s marketing message is the “skin” of the WeatherBug plug-in. Now, WeatherBug’s 17.5 million users can change sponsors on the go by clicking a button on the plug-in.

“Instead of sending ads to people, sometime targeted sometimes not, why don’t we offer people the choice?” said Andy Jednyak, senior vice president and general manager of WeatherBug.

When a user click to change the sponsor, the new sponsor’s Web page is served and its message is wrapped around the plug-in. In addition, WeatherBug sends a marketing email from the new sponsor to the user’s email account, which is required during the sign-up process.

Jednyak said the company’s research found 65 percent of users liked the option and 20 percent didn’t mind, giving WeatherBug’s advertisers quality leads.

The alternative for WeatherBug users is to pay $19.95 for an ad-free version. Jednyak said just 60,000 users had opted for this.

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