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E-mail appending slow to catch on

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White Plains, N.Y.--Despite the current buzz regarding e-mail appending, which is the practice of using third-party lists to acquire e-mail addresses of existing or potential customers, marketers are not doing much, if anything, beyond small tests.

"We've done lots of experiments with e-mail marketing," said Paul Szymanski, head of newsletter marketing at Harvard Business Review, in his comments at the Direct Media list conference in White Plains last week. "Direct mail continues to be the main source of acquiring customers."

Szymanski said that finding outside lists that work was difficult and expensive. Others echoed that sentiment.

"We're finding it hard to rent lists out there," said Eric Snider, senior VP-marketing at SkillPath Seminars Inc., which conducts more than 20,000 training seminars annually. "They're very expensive."

E-mail marketing is also a significant challenge for Mary Sue Rynecki, senior VP-circulation for Newsweek. "It's really hard to make it work," she said.

Rynecki said Newsweek is "in testing mode" concerning e-mail marketing. "We know that capturing e-mail addresses is a challenge, but we'd be crazy not to explore this avenue."

--Carol Krol

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