Draft expands dot-com business by $30 million

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Draft Worldwide's small list of interactive clients has more than doubled by adding three fledgling dot-coms to the direct marketing shop's New York roster.

InfoPost, Fotobug.com and MoneyUnion chose Draft as first agency of record. Billings for all three accounts are estimated at $30 million. InfoPost accounts for about $15 million of the total.

PRINT ADS RING UP INTEREST

Draft began marketing itself to dot-coms using a limited trade print campaign in January, looking for clients with strong business plans, good management teams and experienced marketers, said Matt Armstrong, Draft's business development director in New York.

"As soon as we put our phone number on an ad, we started getting about 10 to 15 calls a week for a while," Mr. Armstrong said. "We have really acted like a venture capital firm . . . in the deals that we considered," even though Draft invested no money in the companies.

Draft snagged its first interactive client this year when Stamps.com abandoned its brand campaign from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., and named Draft's Chicago office its agency of record. The agency is also working with another financial dot-com that has yet to launch its site and could add another three or four dot-coms to the client list this year, Mr. Armstrong said.

Florean Mader, exec VP-marketing at InfoPost, said she chose Draft after considering 15 agencies. The site goes live this month as a content exchange that allows artists, composers, photographers or writers to post their creations online for review or sale.

"The last thing I feel we need is some creative shop to give us a funny creative ad that people will remember the punch line from, but not the dot-com," Ms. Mader said, explaining she looked for an agency that could build a brand and aid customer acquisition on the subscription site.

FROM PHOTOS TO INTEREST RATES

Fotobug.com, Yardley, Pa., after buying the URL, is developing a site for launch this summer that will provide photo-finishing services. The company will initially market its service to schools and return a portion of revenue earned to the local institution.

New York-based MoneyUnion, which will launch in June, is negotiating bulk rates with financial institutions and will allow consumers to pool their buying power via Mybestinterest.com in order to get wholesale rates on savings accounts and loans.

Copyright May 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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