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Direct marketers to form trade group

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Interactive marketing executives are winding up a series of meetings with the goal of forming a new industry association under the working title of Internet Direct Marketing Bureau.

The purpose of the group is to address the space that falls between the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Direct Marketing Association.

The group is intended to serve the needs of purchasers and providers of opt-in e-mail programs, including business-to-business marketers; online sweepstakes; collaborative filtering programs, which recommend products or services for users based on previous selections; and other Internet direct marketing services.

"There are all kinds of things that happen between the time an impression is served and the time a customer makes a purchase in the relationship cycle," said Tony Winders, president of interActive Agency, Los Angeles, who is a member of the steering committee working to organize the new group.

Some areas not being served

"We feel there are some areas that are not being served by the other two organizations," the Internet Advertising Bureau and the DMA, said Mr. Winders, pointing to issues such as database profiling of Internet users, lack of online direct marketing standards and establishing guidelines for collecting user information during online promotions.

The organization would "definitely include business-to-business marketers," he said, "because so much of the revenues spent online are business-to-business."

The idea for the association came from Paul Grand, CEO of Word of Net, who has been trying to raise visibility for the online direct marketing space.

"There is no cohesive organization to facilitate the growth of this space," said Mr. Grand.

Other members of the committee include Van Vandegrift, marketing senior executive at Compaq Computer Corp.'s Digital Equipment Corp.; Ken Wruk, president of WebPromote; and Steven Krein, president of WebStakes.

The association will be formally announced in October at Fall Internet World in New York.

Cheryl Gegenheimer contributed to this story.

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