BizRate suspends offline ads, drops MarchFirst

Published on . cut this year's ad spending to $8 million to $10 million, about half of the planned $20 million. "We're going to slow our growth rate in order to be responsible users of our cash," said VP-Marketing Gene Cameron. It's the second cut this year; the Marina del Rey, Calif., e-tail ratings site envisioned annual spending of $60 million as recently as November. BizRate dropped plans for an estimated $12 million offline campaign; agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., will do limited tactical work, such as guerrilla marketing.

BizRate also pulled its online account from MarchFirst, Santa Monica, to a new in-house group, which Mr. Cameron said would allow quicker ad changes based on data analysis. BizRate has spent about $2 million on online ads this year; it expects to spend another $6 million to $8 million through yearend, most of that online. Mr. Cameron said BizRate is boosting its online plan because of the efficiency and falling prices of online media.

Still eyeing an IPO, Mr. Cameron said BizRate wants to show investors it can grow while shrinking losses. "We didn't think it would be responsible to pour a bunch of money into offline. It's the wrong time."

Copyright September 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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