IAR Bits and Bytes

Aptimus to Appeal Delisting Notice, Considering Sale

Spokespeople from Aptimus said the company has requested a hearing before Nasdaq officials to appeal a notice regarding its potential delisting from the exchange.

The company also announced that it has retained the investment banking firm Dain Rauscher Wessels to assist in its evaluation of strategic alternatives — including a sale or merger.

Last week, Aptimus received a delisting notice from the Listing Qualifications unit of the Nasdaq Stock Market, based on the company’s inability to maintain a $1.00 minimum bid price for its securities.,

“We have been expecting this action from Nasdaq for several months given market conditions,” said Tim Choate, Aptimus’ president and CEO. “We are prepared to appeal the decision through the proper channels. Nasdaq has been forced to take this step by rules that do not look beyond stock price. I am confident that we will present a compelling case to the listing panel when our appeal is heard.”

MSN, MSNBC Win Web Rights to Winter Olympics

Microsoft’s Web portal MSN and its joint venture with NBC, MSNBC.com, will produce the official Web sites for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Through an agreement with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the games, MSNBC will develop the sites, www.Olympics.com, www.saltlake2002.com and NBCOlympics.com.

The deal is exclusive for official Web information and breaking news from the games.

The sites will be promoted will be promoted throughout MSN, and during NBC’s television coverage of the Games on NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.

MSN also will handle ad sales on the sites, which it’s expecting to attract the largest online audience in history for a sports event.

Additionally, MSN said it would roll several of its new rich media advertising products into the site.

iWon to Host PointRoll Ads

Rich media banner ad player PointRoll has a new publisher for its ads, Web portal iWon.com.

The site, which incentivizes visits with entries into sweepstakes, is rolling out two ads from PointRoll using its new TopRoll format.

The selling point of PointRoll’s ads are that on mouseover, they drop down to display additional information — thus allowing a consumer to get more information or register for newsletters without going to another site.

The TopRoll ad is similar to the direct mail industry’s “marriage-mailer” product, which groups similarly-targeted direct products together.

“The direct mail industry has had great success with aggregating advertisers because consumers want to see a wide range of offers, and advertisers benefit by amortizing costs, creating greater reach and frequency and gaining a better return on investment,” said Jules Gardner, co-founder and chief executive of PointRoll.

A 728-by- 30 pixel TopRoll ad will run in the site’s financial area featuring Datek Online, Scottrade, TD Waterhouse Group, Inc., Terra Nova Online, Brown & Company Securities Corp. and BrokerageAmerica.

A 545-by-42 ad featuring advertisers including Universal Studios Home Video, BettyCrocker.com and NextCard Visa will appear in iWon’s Winners section.

AltaVista to Enter Paid Listings Fray

Web search engine AltaVista this week debuted its Express Inclusion service, a product targeted at small businesses and Web sites.

Express Inclusion enables sites to rapidly and frequently provide the search engine with up to 500 specific URLs — for instance, in response to changing items up for grabs on an auction site.

Normally, URLs are collected by Web spiders or submission, and aren’t updated for months or years at a time. But through the new product, companies’ URLs can be refreshed or changed weekly, enabling search engine returns to reflect up-to-date results.

The service is managed through an agreement with infoSpider, a Silicon Valley application and infrastructure provider.

The product is similar to a new offering by LookSmart, which allows clients like eBay to update their search engine listings with up-to-date products up for auction.

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