Mailblocks Forges Ahead with New Acquisition, Service

Consumer anti-spam email company Mailblocks is having a busy New Year, acquiring email provider EmailAccount.com, launching a free, ad-supported email service and retaining Adtegrity.com and ValueClick Media to sell inventory it hopes to generate.

The flurry of changes comes at a difficult time for Mailblocks, whose legendary founder, Phil Goldman, died on Christmas day. Rich Landsman, the company’s VP of engineering, is currently acting CEO. The company is working with the Goldman family, which now owns a majority stake in the fledgling company, to assess its options for hiring a new CEO.

Despite the bad news, Mailblocks appears to be forging ahead. The acquisition of EmailAccount.com is a move to build up its user base. The company, whose anti-spam service is largely based on a challenge-response architecture, plans to shift EmailAccount.com’s 50,000 users to its services during the first quarter of 2004.

“Our goal is to make their [EmailAccount.com users’] migration to Mailblocks as transparent as possible, without any interruption of service,” said Susan Bratton, vice president of sales and marketing at Mailblocks.

“It is very cost-effective to acquire subscribers and migrate them onto our platform. It’s actually equally efficient to purchase the assets of other companies as it is to organically grow our market outreach,” Bratton explained.

“When we acquire customers we do so through different avenues, including affiliate marketing and search. Those are great ways to acquire customers, but there is not enough inventory to build up our business as quickly as we want to. So we use all these different avenues to acquire customers,” Bratton said.

Mailblocks’ core product is its spam-free email service, which costs $9.95 per year for 15 megabytes of storage. The new version provides it free of charge with a fairly common trade-off — advertising support.

The service includes 5 megabytes of free email storage and the company’s patented challenge/response technology. Its features are mostly the same as the paid Mailblocks offerings, except that free accounts are not accessible via desktop email clients such as Eudora or Outlook Express, and they can’t be consolidated with other external email accounts such as Yahoo Mail, AOL or MSN.

Helping to sell inventory on the new service will be Adtegrity.com and ValueClick Media, a division of ValueClick .

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