B2 Awards Post 2


CMGI’s CEO David Wetherell heads up not just the most diversified Internet-related company, but one of the most powerful. CMGI’s address is 100 Brickstone Square, Andover, Mass., but there are no bricks or stone in any of its wide-ranging business models. The company’s core mission–creating Net value–seems to be working: The company’s stock price has shot up 14,000 percent since 1994.

A relatively unknown name a year ago, CMGI burst onto the Internet scene backing a broad spectrum of Net-centric properties, including partial ownership of GeoCities and Lycos. CMGI is organized in three business units. The Internet Group has eight majority-owned subsidiary companies; its venture capital affiliate, @Ventures, main-tains interest in 22 companies, and the Direct Marketing Group includes four majority-owned subsidiaries in the direct marketing, fulfillment, and turnkey arenas.

John Dell, CEO

This places CMGI’s fingers in more than 34 Internet companies in four areas of Internet business opportunity: con-tent, community, enabling technology, and ecommerce. Their names read like a microstudy of the Internet economy: Adsmart, Chemdex, Critical Path, eCircles, Engage Technologies, Magnitude Network, NaviNet, NaviSite, Planet Direct, Raging Bull, Silknet, Speech Machines, TicketsLive, Universal Learning Technology, and Virtual Ink.

Says Wetherell, “We focus on companies that touch each aspect of the Web value chain: front end to back end.” Luck or foresight? Remember, Wetherell is the one who acquired 80 percent of Lycos in 1995 for $2 million.

[ Most recognised brand ]

Starring America’s wholesome sweethearts Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, You’ve Got Mail single-handedly shifted the image of America Online and, by extension, the Internet. Once portrayed in the media as a pedophile-infested alleyway, cyberspace has become a safe place for suburbanites to fall in love. “It’s the first movie that didn’t treat online as weird,” AOL’s COO Robert Pittman said recently. “It was an interesting tool to tell us where we are today.”

Where AOL is today is in our vernacular. And the Dulles, Va.-based company remains dead set on permeating every aspect of American life through its aggressive co-branding strategy. Once the shrink-wrapped freebee millions of Americans discarded as junk mail, AOL has proven that being ubiquitous is key to success. With more than 16 million members spending an average of one hour on AOL per day, the company is spending some of its $1.2 billion in cash reserves to get even more Americans online.

In a multiyear deal with Columbia House, the direct marketer of music and videos will distribute AOL software in its mailings in exchange for a co-branded space on AOL’s desirable real estate. Dell Computer, meanwhile, will soon begin ship-ping computers with the AOL logo and software, and in 2000 will pre-install AOL on its computers. And in March, AOL announced it would buy MovieFone, the movie listing and ticketing service. Now, when the 100 million moviegoers who use MovieFone call up to find out what’s playing, they will hear the three letters, AOL. As Pittman said recently, “Consumer behavior, not technology, is driv-ing this business.” Understanding human behavior has made AOL not just leader of the pack, but a movie star as well.

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