DoubleClick joins 'huge' e-mail ad realm

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Doubleclick today takes a belated but potentially powerful leap into e-mail advertising.

With DARTmail, DoubleClick will allow sites using its DART ad-serving and reporting software to easily add e-mail campaigns to the mix. More than 10,000 sites already serve online ads using DART.

"It's perfectly integrated with DART," said Eli Chalfin, VP-general manager of direct response at DoubleClick. "That's the compelling value proposition."

"The e-mail market is going to be huge," Mr. Chalfin added, noting that the permission e-mail category is expected to grow to 250 billion messages sent annually by 2002, according to Forrester Research. DoubleClick estimates permission e-mail marketing and serving--in all its various forms--could generate as much as $1 billion in sales by 2002.


DoubleClick has several products that begin rolling out early next year: DARTmail for Publishers, DARTmail for Advertisers, DARTmail Prospect and DARTmail Network. While Mr. Chalfin said several advertisers are interested in the new services, he declined to identify any.

DARTmail for Publishers is an e-mail delivery and ad-serving service. It allows DoubleClick to deliver customized editorial content and ads based on the information users supply publishers when they register for a newsletter.

"We're building a system to support serving 100 million to 500 million e-mails a day," Mr. Chalfin said, noting that this will help publishers whose "lists are starting to grow dramatically," but with systems that weren't designed to handle processing millions of e-mail messages a day.

DARTmail for Advertisers is a service to help marketers manage their opt-in e-mail lists and deliver targeted e-mails to consumers. DARTmail Prospect offers advertisers the ability to buy opt-in e-mail lists of people to whom they could send ads. Lastly, DARTmail Network acts like the DoubleClick Network, with advertisers buying and publishers selling targeted ads on e-mail newsletters.

"We think we can create a leading position in the market," said Mr. Chalfin. "Our core competency is marrying technology and media solutions."

However, even Mr. Chalfin tacitly acknowledges DoubleClick is a latecomer to this space. But he said the e-mail market is still infancy and it took time to develop the services properly.

"To do this right, it had to be perfectly integrated with DART and we had to build it ourselves," he said.


Many marketers already use another e-mail service bureau or list broker, said Michele Slack, an analyst in the Online Advertising Group at Jupiter Communications.

"I think their lateness to market will hurt them the most," she said, especially in the permission e-mail list marketplace, already dominated by companies such as NetCreations and YesMail, which she said, "have millions of names they can offer to an advertiser. DoubleClick is starting with a much lower number. All the targeting in the world won't help you if you don't have critical mass."

"They're a shade late getting into it," agreed Jim Nail, senior analyst at Forrester Research.

At the same time, Mr. Nail and Ms. Slack are intrigued with DoubleClick's move. "If DoubleClick can pull it off, it'll be a successful offering," Ms. Slack said. "They're bringing something to market that nobody else has--to be able to integrate the serving of e-mails with ads and track the effectiveness of both."

"It's a good comprehensive set of services," added Mr. Nail. "DoubleClick is "becoming much more than an ad network."

On the Web, the companies with the richest tool set "are the organizations that will win," he said.

Copyright November 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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