I/PRO TO SCALE BACK ITS AMBITIOUS WEB STRATEGY;BOARD PLOTS FUTURE AMID CUTBACKS; POLER ASSUMES A MORE ACTIVE ROLE

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Internet Profiles Corp., which once aspired to be the "Nielsen of the Internet," is cutting costs and taking other measures to stem financial and service problems.

The Web measurement company this week is expected to announce plans to cut as many as 10 staffers, its fourth set of layoffs since summer.

CLIENTS INCREASE ROLE

I/Pro's board, including executives from Cognizant Enterprises, Hearst Corp., Poppe Tyson and others, will assume more control over the company's management after meeting last week in New York to discuss its future.

Company founder and board member Ariel Poler, who resigned his day-to-day duties this summer, also will return to a more visible role with I/Pro, though not in management.

I/Pro, launched in April 1995 to provide site traffic reports, audits, research and registration services, is vastly toning down its ambitions.

Since summer, I/Pro has reduced its head count 33% to 69; 25 people were laid off and nine resigned. Last week, it confirmed reports it had laid off seven members of its marketing staff in November and that VP-Marketing Stephen Klein had resigned.

That departure and other management changes have paved the way for Mr. Poler to step up his involvement with the company.

OVEREXTENDED COMPANY

"We've overextended ourselves . . . There's been too much turmoil in our management," he said. "My No. 1 priority is the success of I/Pro."

In addition to detailing its staff reduction plans, I/Pro this week is expected to announce progress in resolving problems with delivery of its site traffic and auditing reports, and its financial situation.

I/Pro claims 200 clients for its services, including I/Count site traffic measurement service, I/Audit traffic verification service and I/Pro Research, a value-added resource. I/Pro jettisoned its I/Code registration system this fall.

TOP SOURCE OF AUDITS

The company is the leading source of Web audits, with clients including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Playboy. But clients have complained about lag times of several months before receiving reports.

I/Pro's backlog-representing reports that are more than a month late-is "very small, well under 10%," said President-CEO Mark Ashida. "Over 90% of our audits are getting out within 10 days of getting the information" from the measured site, he said.

"It would be better for both of us if they could automate the procedure and if there were turnaround in a more timely manner," said Chris Neimeth, VP-director of sales and marketing at The New York Times Electronic Media Co. "That's what our advertisers are asking for."

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