L90 Acquires Offline Marketer

Ad network L90 looks to be moving into offline direct marketing, following Tuesday’s acquisition of Novus List Marketing for an undisclosed amount.

As the foundation of a new “L90 Direct” unit, the acquisition of Novus List Marketing, a division of Valhalla, New York-based Novus Marketing, allows the ad network to begin offering services normally associated with offline direct marketing and database firms — list management, list rental fulfillment, list and house file modeling, and database development.

Naturally, the move brings to mind DoubleClick’s acquisition of offline marketer Abacus Direct in 2000, which afforded the Alley-based ad network access to the Abacus Alliance database. DoubleClick said it wouldn’t merge Abacus with its database of online anonymous profiles following a public backlash, but it does engage in separate offline list renting to its Web clients.

Similarly, Los Angeles’ L90 said it would upsell Novus’ offline direct marketing services to its existing email list management clients, while pushing its own online media, technology and site representation services to Novus clients — which include Golf Digest, Emap USA and Wenner Media.

L90, which said its email list renting business results in the sending of about 250 million email messages monthly, looks to expand by incorporating email lists of Novus clients’ online properties into its own email list management practice.

“With the acquisition of Novus, L90 combines its online technologies and sales expertise with one of the leading offline list managers in the industry,” said L90 president and chief executive John Bohan. “This provides us with a broader suite of offerings and a significant advantage over our competitors.”

Indeed, DoubleClick, the industry leader, is the only other Web advertising player owning a full-service offline marketer. However, New York-based DoubleClick admitted it ran into integration problems with Abacus, revamping its leadership this winter after underperformance in what traditionally have been its strongest quarters.

Novus List Marketing’s Joanne Capria, however, suggests that the match-up is smooth.

“I can’t think of a better fit for Novus and its clients than L90,” Capria said. “The future of direct marketing has been enhanced by technology developments, and Novus can now offer clients a one-stop direct marketing shop to generate revenues on- and offline.”

Aside from DoubleClick and L90, other players have been working to establish offline businesses while Web ad sector remains weak. CMGI-owned ad network Engage, for one, rolled out a digital asset management offering targeted at newspaper publishers.

In other L90 news, the firm inked a sales agreement Wednesday with Ask Jeeves. Terms were not disclosed of the deal, under which L90 will represent unsold inventory across Ask Jeeves’ Direct Hit Network.

The inventory, which is targeted based on search engine keywords, includes interstitials, links, banners and other, as-yet-unreleased ad products. Publishing affiliates host a gateway to the search engine and the results page, and receive a cut of ad revenue from advertisements that appear with the search engine results.

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