DoubleClick Sells E-mail List Unit

Continuing efforts to focus on technology, online ad giant DoubleClick said it planned to sell its e-mail list services unit to database marketer infoUSA .

Terms were not disclosed of the sale of the unit, which will remain based in New York. Most of the group’s 19 employees are expected to join Walter Karl, the offline list brokerage unit of infoUSA-owned Donnelly Marketing.

The sale marks 30-year-old, Omaha-based infoUSA’s entrance into the e-mail list brokerage and management business. The company operates a proprietary database of 300 million consumers and 14 million businesses.

In terms of online efforts, infoUSA operates, which offers merge/purge, information append and national change-of-address updating services for offline lists. The company’s database also provides data for several portals’ and online firms, including Microsoft’s MSN, Yahoo! , AOL Time Warner , Verisign .

Through Monday’s sale, infoUSA will gain control of DoubleClick List Services’ 40 million opt-in addresses, 28 million postal names and addresses, and 45 branded lists.

“This deal catapults us into a leading position in the digital direct marketing arena to complement our leadership in traditional direct marketing,” said infoUSA founder and chairman Vin Gupta. “We look forward to considerable synergies in our online and offline businesses and anticipate significant growth to both sides of our business.”

Added Walter Karl president Ed Mallin, “The combined talent and expertise of DoubleClick’s List Services division and the Walter Karl Interactive team, I believe, will make us the leader in this marketing space. This is one additional piece in Walter Karl’s goal to be the preeminent player in the online and offline List Brokerage and List Management arena.”

For DoubleClick, the move allows it to continue focusing on the technology side of its business, rather than services. For many firms in the online ad sector, the market for advertising technology has proven stronger than those for media services.

Nevertheless, DoubleClick spokespeople declined to discuss the costs associated with running the unit but said they were less a factor in the sale than pure focus.

“The unit was performing very well … and we had built it into a very good business,” said DoubleClick vice president Nancy Joyce, who headed the unit. “It really was just an issue of focusing more and more on being a technology business.”

DoubleClick also benefits through the effective signing of a new client. That is, the firm will continue to provide the e-mail marketing technology powering the unit, through a five-year exclusive DARTmail contract with infoUSA.

Through the deal, infoUSA also becomes the first customer of DoubleClick’s list selector, a DARTmail module used by list owners and managers to better manage and segment their lists, track campaigns, and bill.

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