@Plan: Providing Net Intelligence

More than ever, companies need to redefine their Internet strategies.
Simply buying Super Bowl ads will not work. Companies need to find
cost-effective ways to reach customers.

There are a variety of firms that help. Although, the industry has been hit
hard. In fact, it looks as if there will be a good deal of consolidation.
The most prominent deal was Media Metrix’s acquisition of Jupiter
Communications for $414 million.

But as consolidation continues and companies demand market research
services, the industry should perk up. One company to keep an eye on is @Plan . Basically, the
company develops sophisticated market research systems that are tied to
databases that track product preferences, consumer lifestyles, and
demographics.

The company has assembled an impressive suite of products:

The Gutenberg Advertising System: With this, companies can
effectively determine objectives; find efficient ways to reach audiences;
and perform comparisons of relative costs of reaching audiences. The system
also helps with developing brands, product differentiation, and
demographics.

The Kepler E-Business System: This helps with finding the
differences in behavior with online and traditional retail environments for
a variety of consumer product and service categories; and the development of
cost-effective customer acquisition strategies.

Darwin E-Retail System: Companies can better attract key customer
segments and perform customer evaluation (that is, determine how customers
view the quality of service of the purchasing decision).

The financials, though, are not big. In the first quarter of 2000, the
company had sales of $2.8 million, which was a 112% increase from the same
period a year before. As for losses, they were $960,000 and the cash
position is $33.4 million. The client list is 475 and repeat customers
account for 50% of total revenues.

But it is likely that @Plan will probably be buyout bait. Interestingly
enough, the company has already retained the investment bank of Veronis
Suhler for strategic alternatives. And, there are a variety of possible
suitors who would be interested in the product suite of @Plan, such as
Nielsen/NetRatings
or, yes, even Media Metrix .

Also, @Plan is expected to report its earnings report on Friday. You
can see the chart at the internet.com Earnings
Page
.

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