InfoBeat Changes Name, Makes Direct Marketing Acquisition

E-mail publisher InfoBeat stepped more firmly into the direct marketing arena on Thursday, acquiring viral marketing firm AdTools and changing its name to Indimi — a somewhat-forced acronym for “Internet direct marketing intelligence”.

The acquisition, which was described only as a “multi-million dollar” transaction, signals the Sony Music Entertainment property’s intention to further develop its email marketing capabilities. Indimi will continue to operate its email newsletter operation under the InfoBeat brand name, but the new company brand will allow it to expand into new areas.

AdTools principally operates three services — MessageMates, ScreenMates, and ice9 — which are animated desktop applications that are easily passed along via email. It also runs three Web sites, which serve primarily as a distribution platform for the applications.

These applications, which are similar to the technology offered by ToggleThis, allow marketers to create animated, interactive characters, games and applications around their products, which launch on a users’ desktop. Their small size makes them ideal for viral marketing campaigns, because consumers can simply send them along, via email, to their friends.

“Today’s announcement reflects our mission of developing the most engaging personalized consumer and business-to-business brands that utilize email, the desktop and other emerging means of delivery and display,” said Mark Wachen, chief executive officer of Indimi.

“Indimi will possess the most powerful suite of brands and services that tap into the best content, latest interactive technologies and creative solutions marketers desire and consumers demand.”

Today’s acquisition follows Indimi (then InfoBeat)’s strategic investment in email games company, LetsPlay. Both deals are designed to add interactivity to the company’s offerings, and build on its email publishing and distribution infrastructure.

“We’re trying to do is build Internet applications that are not just another Web site,” said Wachen. “We think AdTools is going to be very compatible with InfoBeat.”

Wachen points to a promotion the two companies put together for Universal Pictures around the recent Flintstones II release. AdTools created a “downloadable Dino,” and InfoBeat promoted it to its subscribers through the company’s movie-related newsletter. InfoBeat has around 3 million subscribers to its email offerings.

The newly-acquired firm, which was founded in 1998, brings to Indimi clients like Agency.com, American Express, Columbia TriStar, Grey Direct, and 24/7 Mail. The company has launched marketing campaigns around characters such as Pokemon, Pink Panther, and Dino from The Flintstones, as well as desktop marketing campaigns for companies that include Procter and Gamble, GTE, and Mattel.

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