E-mail publisher InfoBeat stepped more firmly into the direct marketing
arena on Thursday, acquiring viral marketing firm AdTools and changing its name to Indimi — a somewhat-forced acronym for
“Internet direct marketing intelligence”.
The acquisition, which was described only as a “multi-million dollar”
transaction, signals the Sony Music
Entertainment property’s intention to further develop its e-mail marketing
capabilities. Indimi will continue to operate its e-mail newsletter operation under the InfoBeat brand
name, but the new company brand will allow it to expand into new areas.
AdTools principally operates three services — MessageMates, ScreenMates,
and ice9 — which are animated desktop applications that are easily passed
along via e-mail. It also runs three Web sites, which serve primarily as a
distribution platform for the applications.
These applications, which are similar to the technology offered by ToggleThis, allow marketers to create
animated, interactive characters, games and applications around their
products, which launch on a users’ desktop. Their small size makes them
ideal for viral marketing campaigns, because consumers can simply send them
along, via e-mail, to their friends.
“Today’s announcement reflects our mission of developing the most engaging
personalized consumer and business-to-business brands that utilize email,
the desktop and other emerging means of delivery and display,” said Mark
Wachen, chief executive officer of Indimi.
“Indimi will possess the most powerful suite of brands and services that
tap into the best content, latest interactive technologies and creative
solutions marketers desire and consumers demand.”
Today’s acquisition follows Indimi (then InfoBeat)’s strategic investment
in e-mail games company, LetsPlay.
Both deals are designed to add interactivity to the company’s offerings,
and build on its e-mail publishing and distribution infrastructure.
“We’re trying to do is build Internet applications that are not just another Web site,” said Wachen.
“We think AdTools is going to be very compatible with InfoBeat.”
Wachen points to a promotion the two companies put together for Universal Pictures around the
recent Flintstones II release. AdTools created a “downloadable Dino,” and InfoBeat promoted it to its
subscribers through the company’s movie-related newsletter. InfoBeat has around 3 million subscribers to
its e-mail offerings.
The newly-acquired firm, which was founded in 1998, brings to Indimi
clients like Agency.com, American Express, Columbia
TriStar, Grey Direct, and 24/7 Mail. The company
has launched marketing campaigns around characters such as Pokemon, Pink
Panther, and Dino from The Flintstones, as well as desktop marketing
campaigns for companies that include Procter
and Gamble, GTE, and Mattel.