RealTime IT News

Looksmart Partners With Television Marketer

San Francisco-based Web site directory operation Looksmart signed a long-term strategic partnership and equity deal with Guthy-Renker, a television direct response marketing company, to expand their e-commerce offerings.

Under the agreement, Guthy-Renker has taken an unspecified equity position in Looksmart, a privately held Internet company. In exchange, Looksmart has acquired certain unspecified assets of Guthy-Renker's e-commerce division.

Santa Monica, CA-based Guthy-Renker will promote Looksmart during its ongoing broadcast media schedule, and the two companies said they will partner on future direct marketing initiatives. Financial specifics were not disclosed.

Guthy-Renker's Internet properties include BuyItOnTheWeb.com, a Web site that has certain exclusive rights to distribute Guthy-Renker's "As Seen On TV" products online, and Choice Mall, an Internet shopping mall.

Guthy-Renker currently generates traffic to these e-commerce sites via 15-second television advertisements that appear at the end of nearly all of its infomercials. The company said it spent more than $100 million on television airtime in 1998. Under the terms of the agreement, Guthy-Renker will double the length of the television spots it airs supporting these e-commerce sites.

Guthy-Renker will continue to market these sites through its various media channels, including GRTV Network, a 24-hour destination marketing channel that delivers its programming via satellite to more than 45 million U.S. homes. In addition, Looksmart's properties will be marketed through premium positioning on major Web sites and Internet advertising campaigns.

Looksmart will supplement this exposure with access to its Internet distribution pipeline via premium positioning on Looksmart.com, which claims more than five million site visitors each month.

"This partnerships brings the opportunity and excitement of Internet shopping to millions of merchants and consumers across America," said Evan Thornley, CEO and co-founder of Looksmart. "To reach consumers, we will tap into Guthy-Renker's cable reach as well as their large customer base, many of whom are more likely to buy online than the average consumer."

"Looksmart has its finger on the pulse of the Internet and is an ideal partner for us," said Greg Renker, co-president of Guthy-Renker. "By combining our television exposure and proven direct marketing formulas with Looksmart's e-commerce strengths and Internet distribution, we've created a formidable team."

Looksmart features 750,000 unique URL, all editorially reviewed and categorized.