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24/7 Media, USA.NET in Distribution Deal

Will businesses want to turn to the company that handles their e-mail to handle their e-mail marketing? A deal announced Tuesday by online ad network and technology firm 24/7 Media and outsourced e-mail hosting and management firm USA.NET is betting that they will.

According to terms of the agreement, of which terms were not disclosed, USA.NET and 24/7 Media will market each other's products to current and future customers.

"Our relationship with 24/7 Media is very synergetic -- both of our services complement each other well," said Ed Dunbar, executive vice president of sales and marketing, USA.NET. "24/7 Media is a leader in interactive advertising and marketing, and we are proud to offer their services to our customers. We are also looking forward to providing 24/7 Media's customers with hosted e-mail services that eliminate the hassles of managing and maintaining an in-house system."

USA.NET offers enterprise-level e-mail services, in addition to another product that allows Web sites to offer e-mail to members. In return, USA.NET will offer 24/7 Exactis' e-mail marketing suite to its clients.

"24/7 Media is in the business of helping e-marketers attract, grow and retain customers worldwide across multiple platforms and mediums -- Internet, e-mail, wireless and broadband," said Mark Danchak, senior vice president for product marketing at 24/7. "Our alliance with USA.NET builds upon our commitment to providing complete value-added services. The relationship enables our clients to outsource their e-mail marketing and e-mail hosting and management services to 24/7 Exacts and USA.NET, which allows the client to maintain focus on their core business."

The announcement suggests that 24/7 Media is looking for new channels to expand the adoption of its products, as shakeout among the big ad networks continues through several more quarters of expected poor online ad spending. Last week, executives from Yahoo! gave reduced guidance for the coming quarters, saying that they saw the online ad environment lifting only in the second half of 2001. DoubleClick, which, like Yahoo!, posted earnings last week, said it anticipated it would be hurt less than smaller competitors that rely more on media than technology sales.