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BizRate suspends offline ads, drops MarchFirst

BizRate.com cut this year's ad spending to $8 million to $10 million, about half of the planned $20 million (AA, May 15). "We're going to slow our growth rate in order to be responsible users of our cash," said VP-Marketing Gene Cameron. It's the second cut this year; the Marina del Rey, Calif., e-tail ratings site envisioned annual spending of $60 million as recently as November.

BizRate dropped plans for an estimated $12 million offline campaign; agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., will do limited tactical work, such as guerrilla marketing.

BizRate also pulled its online account from MarchFirst, Santa Monica, to a new in-house group, which Mr. Cameron said would allow quicker ad changes based on data analysis. BizRate has spent about $2 million on online ads this year; it expects to spend another $6 million to $8 million through yearend, most of that online. Mr. Cameron said BizRate is boosting its online plan because of the efficiency and falling prices of online media.

Still eyeing an IPO, Mr. Cameron said BizRate wants to show investors it can grow while shrinking losses. "We didn't think it would be responsible to pour a bunch of money into offline. It's the wrong time."

P&G chooses teen site Bolt for two-year content deal

Procter & Gamble Co. picked online teen network Bolt to develop a multibrand, two-year sponsorship package. Under the deal, Bolt has developed marketing programs targeted to its audience for brands such as Always, Pantene, Pringles and Tampax. The branded content is available at www.bolt.com and through America Online's Teen Channel.

Separately, teen network Snowball.com teamed with the National Football League to develop NFL Under the Helmet (www.nfl.com or www.nfluth.com), a site for young adults and teens that includes video coverage of the NFL. Under the two-year deal, both partners will invest in production and marketing and split advertising and e-commerce revenue. Snowball will handle ad sales.

Barenaked Ladies break infomercial on WB site

Rock group Barenaked Ladies created an infomercial debuting this week on Warner Bros. Online's Entertaindom.com, an entertainment network. The spoof, which features an interview with the band, promotes the band's new album "Maroon," in stores Sept. 12. The band also pitches the imaginary Maroon

foot cream, which promises to make anyone a rock star. Entertaindom will Webcast a Barenaked Ladies concert for the next month.

Citysearch develops program for affiliates

Local network Citysearch.com, part of Ticketmaster Online-Citysearch, picked Commission Junction, a company that matches online merchants and content providers, to develop an affiliate marketing program. Citysearch.com will be a merchant in the Commission Junction network of 250,000 content sites.

OneMediaPlace aligns with U.K.-based company

OneMediaPlace, a San Francisco-based Web media exchange, struck an alliance with London-based iMediapoint, another online media site. Each company's users, media buyers and sellers will have access to the other's market.

F.Y.I.

New York-based ad network Real Media named Brian Quinn VP-ad sales. Mr. Quinn, 39, formerly was senior VP-Internet sales at AdOutlet.com, an online media-buying service. Before that, he was new media sales director for the Ad Age Group. He will oversee six regional offices in the U.S. and sales of Real Media's branded Web sites. . . . Intelisys Electronic Commerce, a business-to-business e-commerce company, changed its name to Metiom. A $20 million marketing push that kicks off this week uses consumer ad tactics to help small-business owners understand online exchanges and marketplaces. Duffy Shanley, Providence, R.I., created the ad campaign, starting Sept. 7 in Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. Metiom also will use direct mail. Creative Source International, Boise, Idaho, created the site (www.metiom.com). . . . Broadband portal Excite@Home agreed to buy gaming site Pogo.com, San Francisco, for an undisclosed amount. Pogo will operate as a subsidiary of Excite.

Chat . . .

Telecommute firing: In the '90s an invalid keycard alerted staffers that they'd been axed. As one ailing dot-com last week prepared for job cuts, employees took home their laptops. If they couldn't log on to the company's server the next morning, staffers figured they'd been fired. Why fight the commute?

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