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IAR Bits and Bytes

Return Path Acquisition Furthers Expansion

E-mail list hygiene company Return Path continued a string of acquisitions this week, picking up Assurance Systems, a company that helps clients get their e-mail delivered.

"Deliverability of opt-in campaigns is the single biggest challenge faced by opt-in commercial e-mailers today," said Return Path CEO Matt Blumberg. "While spam is a huge problem for end users, aggressive efforts to filter and block spam have a negative impact on legitimate e-mailers' ability to get their wanted e-mail -- things like newsletters, promotions, and even bills and statements -- into the inboxes of their customers. " The move follows Return Path's purchase of GasPedal's e-mail consulting business last month. Late last year, the company bought Re-Route Corporation, an e-mail forwarding and customer acquisition provider.

The series of acquisitions has helped Return Path expand into other lines of business. The company originally launched in 1999 as an e-mail change of address provider. After swallowing up the competition in the space, merging with Veripost in 2001, Return Path has proceeded to forge partnerships, including one with the U.S. Postal Service, and expand into new service areas.

Return Path's investors include Sutter Hill Ventures, Mobius Venture Capital, Flatiron Partners, JP Morgan Partners, and DoubleClick, Inc.

Nielsen//NetRatings Launches AdRelevance 4.0

Web researcher Nielsen//NetRatings this week launched a 4.0 version of its AdRelevance application, which allows clients to track advertising activity on the Internet.

The new version taps sister company Nielsen Monitor-Plus for a feature that allows marketers to track ad spending across 16 different forms of media. Additionally, users can now view sponsored links by keyword across 23 top search engines. Another new feature adds support for leaderboard (728 by 90 pixels) ads, as well as for Klip-Ad and EyeWonder rich media technologies. Version 4.0 also gathers information from previously unreachable parts of sites, including password-protected and premium service sections.

"Nielsen//NetRatings is dedicated to serving the changing needs of our clients, as we constantly push the envelope in creating innovative products," said William Pulver, president and CEO of NetRatings .