Infomercials plugging into the Internet

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Next effort from Positive Response offers tips on making money on Web

Instead of car wax, tooth whitener or wrinkle remover, the next amazing product to be hawked by Positive Response's "Amazing Discoveries" infomercials is a series of videotapes and manuals telling consumers how to make money on the Internet.

iMall, a Provo, Utah-based company that sells storefronts on its Internet mall and runs seminars on marketing on the Web, has formed a joint venture with Los Angeles-based Positive Response to produce a series of infomercials to begin airing this July.

Although there is opportunity for marketers to cash in on the Web, it appears the real money--at least initially--will be made by entrepreneurs selling ideas and services to those hoping to tap the Net as a revenue stream.

For the past year, iMall has been conducting weekly seminars across the country that teach people the basics about marketing online. Participants pay iMall $3,000 each for 10 hours of training and Internet marketing manuals. As part of the cost, iMall throws in a storefront on its Web site, which the participant can then sell to another marketer at a retail rate.

"There's a huge market of people wanting to make extra income on the Internet," said Richard Rosenblatt, senior VP at iMall, which currently touts about 500 storefronts on its site.

"However, there's an even larger market for helping people to do that."


iMall went public in January ago and projects it will have more than 1,000 storefronts on its site by yearend. The company is also expected to soon form a marketing alliance with a telecommunications partner. iMall already uses radio, online and print advertising to reach its target; creative is done in-house but the company is getting ready for a review.

"I don't know much about infomercials, but they seem right for products that show people how to make money on the Internet," said Mr. Rosenblatt, 27.

Recently acquired by deep-pocketed infomercial company National Media, Positive Response said it will "pull out all stops" for its newest product.

Although spending less than $1 million in media time for its first flight, Positive Response said it will "ramp up spending" according to the interest level the 30-minute spot generates.

"People love to make money," said Val Levey, director of product development at Positive Response. "And the Internet is a place where everyone is looking to make a quick buck today. It's a perfect fit."


Positive Response began airing "Amazing Discoveries" in 1989. The shows, narrated by Positive Response President Mike Levey, have sold some $45 million in car wax, $20 million in stain remover and $41 million in tooth whitener, according to the company.

"Business-opportunity infomercials have been the hottest shows in the last six to nine months," said John Kogler, publisher of the Jordan Whitney Greensheet, a monthly report that tracks the infomercial industry. "And [the] 'Amazing Discoveries' format has been tremendously successful. But whether the product will sell remains to be seen."

Copyright June 1996 Crain Communications Inc.

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