Following up on its Internet base businesses, Initiative Media Worldwide, New York, is launching an interactive division, FastBridge, to help traditional and interactive clients buy media on the Internet. Lynn Bolger, CEO-managing director of FastBridge, will head up worldwide operations. Before joining Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned Initiative, Ms. Bolger was senior VP-media director for Interpublic's APL Digital, which has since been renamed Lowe Lintas Interactive.
Initiative clients spend about $50 million annually on Internet advertising. FastBridge has relationships primarily with established marketers such as Coca-Cola Co., Dell Computer Corp., Home Depot, Microsoft Corp., Nextel and Unilever as well as relationships with some dot-coms including OnMoney.com. FastBridge isn't to be confused with IM.com, which Initiative launched in June as a 15-person branding division for 70-odd dot-com clients that use traditional media, new media and direct marketing. Initiative at midyear reported about $750 million in online and offline billings from dot-coms, though that's probably fallen as dot-coms scale back or fold.
Snowball pitches site at college students
Snowball, the site for teens and twentysomethings, today unveils SnowballCollege (www.snowballcollege.com). The site aimed at providing students with college and career resources replaces PowerStudents.com, which had put more emphasis on entertainment content, said Britton Jackson, network director of SnowballCollege.
Content partners include testing services Ansir.com and Princeton Review and career guide site Wetfeet.com. In-house created banners will promote the site within Snowball's network and on Microsoft Corp.'s MSN. No offline advertising is scheduled. Advertisers include BMG Music, Motorola and Nestle. Snowball earlier this month laid off about 50 employees when third-quarter revenue was lower than expected.
AdRelevance: Political parties skip Web ads
Both the Bush and Gore presidential campaigns have made little use of the Internet for online advertising, according to a study being released today. The report by AdRelevance, a division of Jupiter Media Metrix, found most Web advertising was limited to the Democratic and Republican conventions. Republicans also ran a small campaign before the presidential debates in October. The study found that Democrats' entire online advertising effort consisted of one banner on Yahoo!, while Republicans used more than 20 banners across 35 sites.
Big retailers preparing sites for the holidays
Discounters are decorating their home pages in preparation for the battle to see who steals Christmas e-commerce this year. Target.com last week introduced a redesigned site with expanded offerings and Wal-Mart Stores, which had gone dark for a month, is expected to reopen its site (walmart.com) as early as this week. If Webbies have big money to spend following the market drop, eLuxury.com is draping its site in gold via a new M&J Savitt jewelry boutique section.
Chicago-based Internet consultancy MarchFirst last week reported a third-quarter net loss of $437 million compared with a net gain of $9 million the year-earlier period. On the news, its stock plunged 59% Oct. 24 to $4.88. . . . Internet Broadcasting Systems (www.ibsys.com), a company that partners with broadcasters to build out local TV stations' Web sites, today announces ad packages that bring in nearly $1 million to partner stations KMBC-TV, Kansas City, Mo., and WESH-TV, Orlando.
Chat. . .
MyLacking cash: MyLackey.com shut down after failing to raise new money, joining Urbanfetch as casualties in the field of local delivery-service sites. MyLackey and Urbanfetch were the subject of a critical opinion column in Ad Age (Aug. 21). . . . We're hiring. We're firing: Even as word spread last week that Internet Appliance Network (www.ian.net) was scaling down, the outfit had 20 job postings on its site. "Our goal," the site explained, "is to make the Internet so compelling that people will never leave." Except for staffers IAN asks to leave. "We are in the process of restructuring ourselves as a technology and development/integration company," a spokes-man said. "As a result, the New York office will be closed as of Nov. 1; mostly in New York we have sales, marketing and admen." . . . Free-shipping woes?: Last week healthcare commerce site HealthCentral acquired More.com, a beauty and drugstore e-tailer. More.com launched last year with an aggressive campaign, promising lifetime free shipping to charter customers and a freeze on certain product prices. Gardner Geary Coll, San Francisco, handled the campaign.