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MyPoints.com COO Steps Down

Already a firm under great duress from slowdowns in advertising spending, MyPoints.com's Chief Operating Officer Chaz Berman stepped down Friday to pursue other interests.

Berman is the second executive to leave the direct marketing firm. Claiming he lacked the experience to manage "high-growth" companies, Chief Executive Officer Steve Markowitz resigned November 2 and has not been replaced.

President Layton Han will pull double duty, filling in for the departed Berman.

Han is somewhat of a long-timer for the company, having served as the firm's chief financial officer and then its senior vice president of corporate and business development. Han presided over the firm's initial and secondary public offerings, the acquisition of Cybergold and the development of two of the outfit's largest partnerships, MasterCard and Sprint.

Though MyPoints posted a lower loss-per-share than Wall Street's consensus estimates (36 cents instead of 39 cents) and doubled revenues from the previous year, Salomon Smith Barney downgraded the stock from buy to neutral, claiming the company eked out a "sloppy" quarter and posted earnings that were still 35 percent under estimates.

The investment firm thought MyPoint's had worn out its mailing list, a common problem among direct marketers that can take a year or more to correct. Known as "list fatigue," the condition develops when an outfit has bombarded its client list to the point that its response rate suffers.

Merrill Lynch's high-profile Internet analyst Henry Blodget was far less kind then, calling the company's results "pathetic" after pointing out that top-line number was a 22.5 percent sequential revenue decline.

MyPoint's stock was down 5.5 percent to $1.13 in Friday morning trading.