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IAB, wireless group discuss possible merger

The Internet Advertising Bureau, looking at ways to develop the market for ads on mobile devices, is talking about a merger with upstart Wireless Advertising Industry Association. CMGI's AdForce last month formed the wireless group ( with charter members including fusionOne, Media Metrix, Nokia, San Francisco-based agency SF Interactive and Sprint PCS. "We're in conversations as we speak," IAB Chairman Rich LeFurgy said last week at the @d:tech conference in San Francisco. "We want to see how we can merge our efforts and operations." The IAB's new Wireless Advertising Council, meanwhile, meets May 17 in New York to look at such issues as measurement and standards.

Separately, Mr. LeFurgy said the IAB is forming a committee to look for ways to foster and showcase creativity in online advertising. "For the most part," he said, "it's an incredible wasteland."

AOL moves to build agency relationships

America Online shifted ad agency veteran Richard Ward to VP-agency relationships, with the charter to build ties with ad agencies. Mr. Ward, based in San Francisco and formerly VP-business development in the interactive marketing department, is a former head of FCB Worldwide's San Francisco office. Agencies often have had little involvement with -- and no chance to make money on -- broad deals AOL negotiates with marketers; Mr. Ward will seek ways to involve agencies in marketing packages with AOL and, after its pending merger, Time Warner. Rival Yahoo! made a similar move this spring when it hired Murray Gaylord, former exec VP of the Advertising Council, as director of Fusion Marketing to work with traditional agencies (AA, April 3).

SkyGo launches wireless ad-targeting service

SkyGo today launches a wireless platform to target consumers with advertising. Credit-card companies, wireless service providers and Internet companies can license San Mateo, Calif.-based SkyGo's platform to send marketing messages and special offers based on consumer opt-in profiles. The service will be tested in Boulder, Colo., this summer with 1,000 mobile-phone users. launches $2 million mail campaign

Weeks after awarding its $10 million marketing account, launches an additional $2 million direct mail campaign today, shipping more than 1 million catalogs to consumers. Cataloger Manhattan Creative Strategies, New York, created the campaign.

F.Y.I. May 16 begins its first major promotion with a sweepstakes to push sales of the DVD release of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's James Bond movie "The World is Not Enough." The e-tailer will run radio ads and online ads and send messages to people on's opt-in e-mail list. Bond drives a Z8 roadster in the movie; grand prize in the sweepstakes is an X5 sport-utility vehicle.

Chat. . .

Will the Internet Advertising Bureau become the Interactive Advertising Bureau? The IAB board discussed a name change during @d:tech last week, and Chairman Rich LeFurgy notes the IAB is moving into broadband and wireless (see item Page 64). But he says the IAB for now will keep Internet in its name. . . . A banner on a building on Silicon Valley's Highway 101 touts the home of Another pie-in-the-sky Net scheme? No. It's a 26-year-old outfit that makes ad blimps. What Internet bubble would be complete without a blimp full of hot air? The company uses helium, actually. Hindenberg-style hydrogen would be more suitable for dot-coms

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