Sunday, September 10, 2000

BYCZKOWSKI: New Economy


HomesThatClick ahead of goals for realty site

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        CatchingUp.com:

        • Yahoo! has 48 million users. HomesThatClick.com has 1,300. HomesThatClick is happy.

        The local online Realtor had a goal of 1,000 registered users by September, so surpassing that was good news. It also wanted 60 listings and 15 homes sold by now. It has 80 listings and 20 sold.

        The company raised $4 million venture capital in May, and expected that to last about 90 days. Marketing director Jeff Vollmer said the company expects to have news on its next round of funding soon. It has also hired Pamela Riesing as director of customer relationships, to implement a program to build a customer base.

        HomesThatClick.com lets sellers pay a 2 percent commission on the sale, with 1 point going to the company and the other going to the Realtor who delivers the buyer. Sellers can offer to pay a larger commission, and Mr. Vollmer said most sellers are in fact paying up to 4 percent.
       

KnowToday is Clerity
       

        • Cincinnati Bell became Broadwing, Giage became Copernus, and last week KnowToday became Clerity. The Main Street information auction start-up has moved to better digs at Garfield Place, named a new CEO and signed a new customer.

        Why the name change? “We found KnowToday was very consumerish, very destination oriented,” said Todd Easterling, the company's vice president of marketing. He said others in the industry had similar names — KnowThis.com or KnowledgeThat.com — and KnowToday wanted something different.

        The company used Dan Pinger Public Relations and Strategic Creative Services to help with the new name and logo. He said about 300 names were reviewed before a) they found one they liked and b) they found one whose dot-com name wasn't already registered.

        Clerity expects to announce more deals soon. It's in the midst of attending Internet Commerce Expo 2000 and KM World 2000, two big trade shows in California.
       

Yahoo, PlanetFeedback
       

        • Check your Yahoo! Mail account and you might see a little PlanetFeedback button pop up. A link reads: “Free complaint site! Write a letter now!”

        What's it mean? Another test for the Cincinnati Internet consumer-feedback start-up. Chief financial officer Mike Nazzaro said the Yahoo “performance-based arrangement” will last about six weeks, as the Planet figures out the best ways to build traffic and an identity.

        The company is testing just about every means of linking but banner ads, he said. What's more likely for the future are alliances with important sites, which the Yahoo arrangement seems to signal. The company also opened a New York City office, staffed by former Time-Warner executive Brian Schlessinger, which puts PlanetFeedback in the neighborhood of the media companies it needs to work with.

        The company's fast-track start-up 10 months ago now seems a crawl. “When we were raising money, the challenge was get money and spend it as fast as you can,” Mr. Nazzaro said. “The risk of spending it inefficiently was less than getting beat by somebody else.”

        Now there's less assurance another round of financing awaits a start-up. That means PlanetFeedback is willing to take a little extra time to figure out what works before spending money. Expect a full launch this fall.

        E-mail John Byczkowski at johnb@enquirer.com or call 768-8377. Find a list of local New Economy companies at http://enquirer.com/neweconomy/.
       



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