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Ken Magill

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Email List Firm Marketfish Goes Belly Up

9/3/13

By Ken Magill

Marketfish, a Seattle-based company that offered permission-based self-service email list rental for prospecting purposes, has gone out of business.

The company closed its doors last month, the Magill Report has learned.

However, according to Dave Scott, Marketfish’s former chief executive, a well-known data-services firm has bought Marketfish’s assets.

As a result, he said, the company’s services should be available under a new name in a month or so.

“Marketfish’s technology will live on,” said Scott. “It’s [the buyer is] a data company you’ll recognize and we’re working with them very closely to get this new service off the ground.”

Scott said Marketfish was sold rather than attempting to raise a new round of financing.

“We had amazing venture capitalists who were really patient with the company,” said Scott. “It came to a time where we had to decide: ‘Do we want to raise another round of money or do we want to figure something else out?’ And the economics weren’t there for us to raise money so I was the first to say: ‘Let’s find a home for the company.’”

Scott said he has since taken a new position at another company but that he hasn’t started yet so he couldn’t name it.

Launched in 2008, Marketfish took a novel approach to email list rental for prospecting purposes.

The company required email list-owners participating in its program to get verifiable permission from subscribers to receive third-party marketing messages. Marketfish then offered all the names to would-be advertisers in a searchable, automated platform.

The business was aimed at helping solve two of email marketing’s most persistent problems: A lack of permission-based prospecting lists available for third party rental, and a lack of selects—the ability to pinpoint address holder attributes—for the lists that are available.

As of 2011, Marketfish represented 50 list owners with more than 200 million email addresses. It allowed marketers to search the files using 93 different selects and compile a list of their preferred target—homeowners in Florida with household incomes of $100,000 or more, for example.

List owners were able to set their own rental prices and place limits on how frequently their addresses could be rented.

In October, 2011, Marketfish launched an automated postal-list service similar to its email offering.

Also in 2011, Marketfish reportedly raised $4.5 million in financing from Rustic Canyon and Javelin Ventures.

That was its last round of publicly announced financing.

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