Online discussion lists spur debates, deals

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Internet discussion lists, long populated by techno-geeks debating software bugs, are becoming a key networking forum for senior executives in online advertising.

They're also generating ad revenue, new business and branding opportunities for those who run them.

Adam Boettiger, VP-advertising and marketing for eyescream interactive, Portland, Ore., and moderator of the Internet Advertising discussion list, said 80% of new business he brings to the agency comes directly from people who have heard of him through the list.

"It's an excellent branding mechanism," said Mr. Boettiger, who started the list in January 1997 with friends in the advertising industry who were looking for a quality place for discussion.


In addition to being a source of industry information, lists also provide a good place for online schmoozing.

Wendy Bodzin, VP-business development and media for online promotions company Yoyodyne, Irvington, N.Y., said she's given business to sites through people she's met on the Internet Advertising list.


Also, she added, "A list can make you aware of a million new ways to try things."

Added Kate Everett-Thorp, president-CEO of Internet agency Lot21 and chairman of the media and measurement task force for the Internet Advertising Bureau, "It's a good way to understand what topics are top-of-mind for people and where the confusion is."

Ms. Everett-Thorp is a panelist on a two-week debate about measuring impressions that began last week on the Online Advertising discussion list.

Online Advertising is moderated by Richard Hoy, VP-marketing at Internet marketing agency Tenagra, Houston, who has also seen new business as a result of the list.

"If you have a really good one, it can make you famous in an industry," said Mr. Hoy. "Our name is getting in front of 6,400 people every day," he said, referring to the list's membership.


Beyond bringing in new business for the companies that host them, the lists themselves generate revenue.

Mr. Boettiger owns the Internet Advertising list, but splits ad revenue with eyescream, which reps the list. He charges $5,720 per quarter (a $40 cost per thousand) for a one-day-per-week exclusive sponsorship on his list, and has signed advertisers including Narrowline, CNET and i-Frontier.

The list is now working with Deja News to provide a bulletin board on its Web site, which will be used as an extension to the list.

Online-ads, which is owned by Tenagra, charges $750 per week ($120 CPM), and has signed advertisers including Wired Digital, Texas Monthly, 24/7 Media and others.

Copyright April 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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