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Direct marketing hiring pace softens

Direct marketers expect fewer new hires this summer compared with the spring, according to Bernhart Associates Executive Search in its quarterly direct marketing employment survey. In addition, the percentage of companies planning layoffs increased slightly. Sixty-one percent of the respondents said they will be adding to staff during the current third quarter compared with 66% in the same quarter last year, while 28% are forecasting no change. Seven percent plan to reduce their head counts, compared with 2% in the third quarter of last year. The remainder said they were unsure about hiring plans. Jerry Bernhart, president of Bernhart Associates, said the numbers show a slight softening in the employment outlook for direct marketers this quarter and are consistent with what he is seeing in his business. A total of 112 companies responded to the survey, which was e-mailed during the week of July 8.

PlattForm Holdings buys VentureDirect

PlattForm Holdings, an Internet-based marketing company focused on the post-secondary education field, said it has acquired marketing services company VentureDirect Worldwide. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. VentureDirect provides lead generation and customer acquisition services to advertisers, along with list brokerage and management services. The acquisition will enable PlattForm to expand its lead generation capabilities and broaden its services to other industry verticals such as franchise, health and home improvement. PlattForm is owned by private equity fund Arlington Capital Partners. Media investment bank Jordan, Edmiston Group represented Venture-Direct in the transaction.

NextMark debuts metrics tool

NextMark, a list search technology and service, announced it has added list performance metrics to its data card publishing system. List managers who use NextMark's system to publish their data cards will now see a chart showing "view activity" for 12 months for their lists. The activity is displayed as a stacked bar chart that breaks down the activity by month and by source: the list manager's own Web site, NextMark's research system and NextMark's site network, in order to allow list managers to quantify demand for their lists.

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