YesMail deal to enhance buying via e-messages

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Instead of sending static marketing e-mails to customers hoping they will make a purchase, YesMail.com soon will give its members the opportunity to buy a product within their e-mail.

The Vernon Hills, Ill., company announced today that it has signed an agreement with RadicalMail, Marina del Rey, Calif., to offer clients streaming video technology for their e-mail marketing.

YesMail President David Tolmie believes the technology, which doesn't come via an attached file or require e-mail users to have plug-in readers, will be the common e-mail marketing format in just a few years.

Unlike enhanced audio and video e-mails already used by YesMail, the RadicalMail agreement will allow consumers to interact and ask questions about products and to purchase products without going to a separate site.

LIKE SENDING COLOR ADS

"If an advertiser sends a plain text e-mail message, it's like sending a black and white newspaper ad; HTML messages are like sending four-color print ads," Mr. Tolmie said. "Now, by providing these rich media tools, we're in effect sending an interactive, real-time TV commercial to somebody's e-mail box."

While the media rich messages cost more to produce and more to distribute, Mr. Tolmie said clients are interested in working with the advanced technology in developing e-mail campaigns.

RadicalMail hopes to create a technology standard with its streaming video e-mails, which allow information to be passed through a connection with the e-mail user and the company's server, said Todd Klawin, VP-sales and marketing.

The agreement with YesMail is the first of what Mr. Klawin hopes will be many relationships with e-mail marketers.

ARE CONSUMERS READY?

While the rich media technology is certainly cutting edge, Tara Long, an analyst with C.E. Unterberg, Towbins, thinks consumers aren't necessarily ready to receive such detailed e-mails.

"Right now, they say the most effective e-mail message is five simple lines of text," Ms. Long said. "Companies have to look at the fact that they have to keep technology in line with the users."

Peder Jungck, YesMail's chief technology officer, thinks half of YesMail's 3 million-plus users will be able to receive the RadicalMail products. The company's electronic identification system helps determine which members can and cannot receive the rich video documents.

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