IAR Bits and Bytes

MindArrow Buys E-Mail Transaction Firm

Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based email marketer MindArrow Systems aims to expand its product capabilities by integrating the technology of Control Commerce.

Through an agreement to purchase New York-based Control Commerce, MindArrow said it hopes to take control of the firm’s “Virtual Kiosk” e-commerce technology. The system enables companies to embed transactional and promotional deals within email marketing messages.

The Virtal Kiosk tool supports e-commerce, surveys, coupons and other applications.

“The addition of Control Commerce technology should have immediate impact as we integrate Virtual Kiosk’s e-commerce functionality with MindArrow’s products and services,” stated Robert Webber, president and CEO of MindArrow Systems. “The combination of a low-friction merchandising and customer acquisition system with our rich media email communication tools and back-end reporting features should provide a more complete direct digital marketing solution for our customers.”

If the purchase of privately-held Control Commerce goes through, MindArrow also will obtain the rights to over $1 million in additional cash and a small team of engineers from Control Commerce’s research and development unit in California.

The technology’s main draw is its capability to conduct secure e-commerce transactions directly from within an email message or other online application.

Such technologies (Alley-based Cybuy has one of its own, for instance) are aimed at reducing e-commerce abandonment, which often increases the more customers are required to click to complete a purchase.

“Adding our real-time response capability to MindArrow’s rich media messages will create an integrated solution that should enable MindArrow clients to seamlessly convert online viewers into new customers,” said Jim Chard, chief executive of Control Commerce.

Further details of the stock-based transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the next several weeks.

Unicast Signs New Publishers

Alley-based rich media ad firm Unicast signed several new Web publishers to the roster of sites that accept its Superstitial rich media interstitial.

New publishers include properties of iVillage.com, Snowball Networks, Terra Lycos and Walt Disney Internet Group.

Also added to the Superstitial partner roster in recent weeks are ad network B2BWorks, Women.com and CondeNet’s Concierge.com, Epicurious.com, Self.com and Swoon.

The sites and networks are both supporting and selling the Superstitial ad format.

ValueClick Nabs 10 Millionth Opt-In Address

Pay-for-performance ad network ValueClick said its ZMedia division to date has delivered 10 million opt-in email addresses to marketers.

ZMedia, which the company acquired, generates addresses through co-registration — in which opt-in check boxes are placed on sites in ValueClick’s ad network that match up with the client’s target audience.

When a visitor to one of the sites checks a box to receive information or offers, their request is provided to the marketer in real time, so that the request can be fulfilled immediately.

Mediaplex Lands Work for Kaiser Permanente

San Francisco-based Mediaplex landed non-profit HMO Kaiser Permanente as a user of its MOJO Mail technology.

Mediaplex was tapped for the work by Internet marketing and consulting firm Marketleap, which will use MOJO Mail’s email newsletter management and ad serving technology for its clients, including Kaiser Permanente.

In addition to managing and distributing emails, MOJO Mail can dynamically configure email content when the email is viewed, rather than when it’s sent — ensuring that users receive up-to-date content and offers.

20th Century Fox Taps Val-Pak for Web Promo

Val-Pak and ValPak.com will help promote the release of 20th Century Fox’s Dr. Dolittle 2 by offering sneak previews and chances at free trips to Hollywood.

Largo, Fla.-based Val Pak will distribute register-to-win promotions in Val-Pak envelopes and on PalPak.com. The promotions offer chances at the Hollywood trip and other prizes, including t-shirts, movie picture books and posters.

ValPak.com will include a contest in which users search online coupons for randomly inserted chances at prizes.

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