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You've Got Mail.com

The stocks of e-mail providers have been as beloved as the post office this year, but Mail.com may be ready to move into the express lane.

Publicly-traded e-mail providers have not been strong performers in 1999. However, this may be an opportunity. One that stands out is Mail.com (MAIL) .

To thrive, an e-mail company must constantly provide new services. Mail.com has been in the forefront in striking deals to build a comprehensive suite of messaging services. On Tuesday, Mail.com signed a three-year deal with Net2Phone (NTOP) .

All Mail.com members will be able to make domestic and international phone calls -- using the Net -- through a Mail.com account. The savings are as much as 95 percent of traditional methods. Using the Mail.com address book, a user can click a name and a phone call will be initiated. Also included are instant messaging features that are part of the Net2Phone suite.

Mail.com also purchased NetMoves (NTMV) for $173 million, a company that develops technology that allows for reliable and secure delivery of corporate documents. The core of the business is the Internet faxing service, which has 146,000 users in 150 countries. The fax service is comprehensive: EDI-to-fax, broadcast faxes, fax-to-email and so on.

The acquisition will help Mail.com cater to the corporate market, as NetMoves has about 7,000 such customers, including Disney, ADP, JD Power and even Yahoo! The company also has relationships with 200 international resellers and has a strong sales force of 40 people.

Mail.com also spent $20 million to buy The Allegro Group, a corporate e-mail service. Allegro has about 1,000 corporate clients. What's more, The Allegro Group has technology that allows for virus blocking, content filtering, intranet hosting and attachment control.

In fact, with the acquisition, it looks like Mail.com is positioning itself as a leader in the B2B messaging space. But the company also has a strong consumer base, too. Recently, Mail.com surpassed the 10 million member mark, a 178 percent increase for the year.

Of course, a big part of the success has been from marketing. But also, Mail.com's success reflects marketing as well as a revamped its Web site and more services for users.

The company has been effective in signing strategic partnerships, like email services for such sites as CNET, Snap.com, iWon.com, NBC.com, etc. There are also many deals with Internet Service Providers (ISP). In a recent deal with OneMain.com (ONEM) , the company's 600,000 customers will have access to the e-mail services of Mail.com (other ISPs include Prodigy and GTE).

Finally, the company understands the advantages of thinking globally. Recently the company purchased www.singapore.com, a portal site. Other domains include India.com, Europe.com, Japan.com, Tokyo.com, Rome.com, Paris.com, England.com, Asia.com, and so on (the company owns more than 1,200 domain names).

Revenues are still small, though. For the nine months ended September 30, 1999, revenues were $3.4 million, which is up substantially from $273,000 in the same period a year ago. The sequential growth rate of revenues was 63 percent.

But with the company rapidly building its base, as well as providing new services, there will likely be much more action with the stock. It will also likely get the attention of other companies, such as portals. At