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DoubleClick Gets "Radical" Rich Media Partner

After making efforts to beef up the technology behind its e-mail services, online ad network and technology giant DoubleClick aims to round out its e-mail suite using rich media from Radical Communications.

Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based Radical Communication's system enables marketers to insert streaming audio and video into their e-mails. The streaming rich media features -- or RadicalMail -- can include video playback, newsletter signup, or e-commerce transactions, and don't require preinstalled media players or plug-ins. Streaming the content -- as opposed to attaching or embedding it -- reduces download time for users, and bandwidth costs for advertisers.

While rich media has its advantages -- such as making offers compelling with video, audio and interactivity -- there are limitations on the technologies behind it. Since RadicalMail uses HTML-based e-mail, it can't be viewed by all e-mail recipients. Also, because the technology streams content and video to the user, the capacity for viewing the messages is hampered if a recipient is offline.

Nevertheless, it's a big distribution win for Radical, whose offering will be integrated into DoubleClick's hosted e-mail platform.

"We're excited that DoubleClick has chosen to integrate our technology into their product offering," said Bruce Stein, Radical Communication's chairman and chief executive. "Together, we are engaging consumers across the spectrum of Internet applications."

As for DoubleClick, the move comes as only the latest effort by the Alley-based industry titan to broaden its e-mail capabilities. Last week saw the firm's completion of its acquisition of Toronto-based e-mail delivery and database management firm FloNetwork, for about $28.4 million.

The FloNetwork acquisition expanded DoubleClick's client base and its technology offerings: in addition to its in-house delivery platform, DARTmail, the company will offer e-mail marketing services through FloNetwork. In the future, DoubleClick said it would integrate the two platforms.

Now, following that back-end-oriented acquisition, Monday's partnership adds beefed-up content features to take advantage of DoubleClick's broadened platform offerings.

DoubleClick has long been considered something of a laggard in the e-mail space, and in keeping with recent moves, Monday's partnership brings the firm's expanding e-mail capabilities on par with smaller competitors in its field. Radical, for instance, has existing deals with DoubleClick competitors 24/7 Media and L90.

"More and more e-mail customers are looking to incorporate rich media technology into their e-mail marketing campaigns," said DoubleClick e-mail list services general manager Nancy Joyce. "Through this partnership, we are able to provide marketers with expanded e-mail functionality."