RealTime IT News

Return Path Buys E-Mail Forwarder

E-mail change of service firm Return Path announced it had acquired Re-Route, a provider of e-mail forwarding services to Internet service providers (ISP).

With Re-route's technology, which allows a user changing ISPs to ensure uninterrupted e-mail delivery, New York-based Return Path will expand its e-mail services offerings, which include helping e-mail marketers keep their databases free of dead addresses.

"The acquisition of Re-route's proprietary technology allows us to further enhance our offering to consumers by providing true e-mail forwarding," said Matt Blumberg, Return Path's chief executive. He added that the forwarding capabilities will make Return Path's change-of-address service the online version of the Post Office's change of address system.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Return Path works by keeping a database of 10 million customers who opted in to have their e-mail address changes registered. For e-mail marketers, the service allows them to cut down on undeliverable mail and deliver their messages to consumers who have changed e-mail addresses.

Return Path hopes the addition of e-mail forwarding will lure more users to sign up for the service when they switch ISPs. The company says it registers 750,000 e-mail change-of-address requests a month.

The company's 150 clients for so-called e-mail hygiene services include e-mail marketing companies like Bigfoot Interactive and DoubleClick, which is also an investor, as well as e-mail advertisers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Palm Computing. Earlier this year, Return Path scored a deal with the U.S. Postal Service to promote its e-mail change of address services on MovingGuide.com, the postal service's moving-information Web site.

According to a Return Path research, 31 percent of e-mail users change their address each year, costing e-mail marketers millions in undelivered mail and added customer-acquisition costs.

Arlington, Va.-based Re-route addresses a similar problem, giving users of ISPs like MSN and AOL the chance to have their old e-mail forwarded and a change-of-address notification e-mailed to sender. The company also struck partnerships with AT&T Broadband, Verizon Wireless and RCN.

Return Path said it would integrate the technology, which is patented, with its own change of address service for consumers. Re-route's Virginia operations will be transferred to Return Path's Superior, Colo., offices.