L90 Expected to Announce Company Repositioning

Online ad network and marketing firm L90 is expected to announce Thursday afternoon that it will begin efforts to distance itself from its reputation as a banner ad network, and position itself more as an ultra-targeted marketing services provider.

The effort will involve a print ad campaign in advertising trades, a new Web site and new messaging designed to emphasize Los Angeles-based L90’s permission-based information collection tools, and its targeted marketing tools.

The company’s tools enable Web sites or companies to run sponsorships, collect data on an opt-in basis from their subscribers, to deploy emails and run appropriate marketing messages in those emails, and to run compelling audio and video ads

“It’s a slight change in our business model, but what is more relevant is that we’ll be communicating what we really do,” said the firm’s president and chief executive, John Bohan. “There’s a lot of emphasis on the advertising industry … but where we see the opportunity, and on which we’ve really built our company, is being a new type of communication device to help businesses communicate with customers.”

Bohan told InternetNews.com’s Internet Advertising Report that he sees distribution channels becoming commoditized, requiring businesses to communicate on a one-to-one basis with consumers — which is where L90 expects to fit in.

“L90 has always been perceived as an ad network,” he said. “And our sense is that we’ve been too busy running our business to be able to [communicate that] our mission is to help businesses communicate with a customer on a one-to-one basis, and to provide the tools to do that.”

Bohan said that layoffs were unlikely in the effort, and said that workforce-related issues would be generally limited to an internal “refocusing of recurrent expertise” in areas like sales and engineering.

“The similarity [between the ‘new’ and ‘old’ L90] is that we will continue to monetize Web publishing inventory in numerous fashions,” Bohan added. “The shift is that we’ll focus even more on one-to-one marketing, and less on straight Web-based advertising.”

In related L90 news, the company said it would begin repping file-swapping and chat service Aimster. The deal ties into the repositioning effort, L90 said, since Aimster can glean “a lot” of opt-in information from users, based on their file exchange preferences. Ideally, that information could be used for very targeted advertising.

Aimster, a peer-to-peer service similar to Napster, differs from its litigation-beset competitor in that it allows file sharing and instant messaging interoperability between the major file sharing and instant messaging services which include Gnutella, AOL, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ and Napster.

“Aimster … [has the] potential to be one of the top direct marketing, revenue-generating vehicles on the Web,” Bohan said. “We are anxious to put our ProfiTools to work and release this new opportunity to our 1,300 marketing clients.”

L90 will exclusively represent the inventory on Aimster’s service, which has about 2.5 million members, as well as develop marketing products to monetize Aimster’s file-sharing and instant messaging services.

“The partnership between L90 and Aimster is the first-ever commercialization of peer-to-peer networks,” said Aimster CEO Johnny Deep. “Peer-to-peer networks represent the next wave of Internet development by broadcasting targeted media to millions of online users.”

It’s not the first time that Aimster has been tapped for marketing efforts — several months ago it inked a deal with Capitol Records to promote the release the band Radiohead’s new release. The promotion used Aimster to notify its users about the Radiohead album and directed them to a promotional Web site.

But it is the first time that a company like L90 has agreed to rep and develop specific marketing products that take advantage of Aimster’s potential ability to track and target based on opt-in user activity.

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