Softbank adds clients, redesigns exec team

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Interactive advertising sales rep firm Softbank Interactive Marketing, which just capped its first year in business with $50 million in revenues, has realigned its executive management team and added new clients.

The newest Web site to join Softbank's client roster is MapQuest, which provides mapping technology over the Internet. Under the agreement, Softbank will be the exclusive ad rep for MapQuest's 1 million daily impressions.

Also new to the client list is e-mail publisher InfoBeat, previously Mercury Mail, which also has signed Softbank to an exclusive rep deal.


MapQuest, which had been using DoubleClick as its Web ad rep firm, moved to Softbank because it wanted its site to be sold on a standalone basis rather than as part of a network, said Jeannette McClennan, VP-marketing and sales for MapQuest.

"We've been developing a whole roster of products to go beyond the banner," said Ms. McClennan, referring to the geocentric advertising that targets ads regionally based on maps users request, and vertical sponsorships for areas such as MoveQuest, a new relocation area on MapQuest.

"Things like sponsorships and geocentric advertising can't be sold through a network. All the inventory must be alike," Ms. McClennan said.

However, DoubleClick CEO Kevin O'Connor disagrees.

"We do regional targeting all the time," said Mr. O'Connor. "Selling specific geographic targeting, like on a ZIP code level, we don't specialize in that," he said, adding that as more local advertisers come on the Net, DoubleClick may do more geotargeting.

As for its restructuring, Softbank has quietly been conducting a redesign since April, when it hired Caroline Vanderlip as its new CEO. Ms. Vanderlip was previously president of personal online services for AT&T.


As part of its executive realignment, Softbank has promoted Lawrence Howorth, chief financial officer, to exec VP-sales, and promoted Ted West, chief operating officer, to exec VP-development.

In addition, Softbank has hired Terri Morse, formerly general manager of cable company Prism, as senior VP-marketing and sales development, and Mary Winston, general manager at AT&T's personal online services, as VP-ad operations and Asia-Pacific development.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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