Amid stormy weather for online advertising and marketing concerns, TMP Worldwide
is dropping the In2 brand name, laying off 18 staffers, and folding the remainder into its directional marketing unit.
The company denies, though, that the decision to shutter Manhattan-based In2 as an independent subsidiary was motivated by the troubling conditions that have effected companies like Avenue A, Engage, and Mediaplex. Avenue A and Mediaplex both recently warned that third quarter earnings wouldn’t be up to analysts’ expectations, while Engage cut 175 employees in a move to streamline operations.
“This is not because there is a shift in the market,” said David Rosa, vice president, global brand manager at TMP Worldwide, which is headquartered in New York City. “If we were just a dot-com, or just an Internet concern, it would be a different situation. We are not effected by that.”
Rosa cited the parent company’s diversified nature, and said the effective shuttering of In2 was simply a part of a strategy to integrate acquisitions into the larger TMP Worldwide.
A source inside the company says that general manager Diane Guame brought In2’s 66 staffers into a meeting and, saying it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” broke the news about the layoffs. Guame said that the company had only ten clients, but had 66 employees, so some had to go, according to the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Among those departing were four directors. The company had laid off 6 people about a month ago, according to the source. “This is not a happy place to be right now,” the employee said.
In2 was acquired by TMP back in July of 1999 for $16 million in stock. The company was best known for pioneering technology for tracking the ROI of Internet marketing campaigns, and its clients include Food.com, Bass Hotels, Screaming Media, iVillage, CMP Media, and TMP sister company Monster.com.
Rosa said these clients would continue to be serviced, but the remaining employees would be integrated into TMP Worldwide’s directional marketing unit, which includes its yellow pages advertising business and is headed up by Stuart McKelvey, chief executive officer of TMP Worldwide Directional Marketing. The company will also look at ways to use In2’s technology to serve its yellow pages clients.