ONElist And EGroups Announce Merger – November 9, 1999

July 9, 2010

ONELIST AND EGROUPS ANNOUNCE MERGER
Top two players combine to create world’s largest Internet group communications company

November 9, 1999, San Francisco, Calif. – ONElist (www.onelist.com) and eGroups, Inc. (www.eGroups.com), the two largest companies in the Internet group communications space, jointly announced a definitive merger agreement today. Upon closing of the transaction by the end of this month, the new company, eGroups, Inc., will establish a wide lead in one of the Internet’s fastest growing categories with over ten times the traffic of its closest competitor. The combined company will serve more than 13 million customers, comprised of 260,000 active email groups, delivering over 1.3 billion email messages per month.

“Our mission is to revolutionize the way groups of people communicate using the Internet,” said Michael Klein, new CEO for the combined companies. “Merging the two biggest players gives us undisputed leadership in the email community and group communications category.”

Virtually anyone with email access can use eGroups – anytime, anywhere. With email as the core of its service, eGroups offers a range of Web-based applications to enable group leaders to easily manage complex group interactions and provides individuals with freedom to exchange thoughts, information and ideas with others that share common interests.

Growth of Group Communications

In spite of exponential viral growth effects in this emerging category, the Internet group communications space has been flying below the radar screen for some time.

Traditional measures of Internet reach-web page views-are inadequate to describe eGroups’ massive monthly customer contact. Since the new company’s core focus is email list hosting, only seven percent of its customer contact is captured through web-based impressions. The vast majority of group interactions occur using email. By comparison, the amount of email messages eGroups serves is equal to about two thirds of the email generated by America Online users. Media Metrix figures, while they tell only fraction of the story, are nonetheless significant for both companies. In September, Media Metrix ranked ONElist and eGroups as the 24th and 37th largest Web service companies, respectively. During their infancy, both pre-merger companies independently attracted customers faster than HotMail or GeoCities. In less than a year, eGroups has established a larger user base than either eBay or Amazon.

Word-of-mouth among membership and explosive viral growth have fueled the majority of growth for both ONElist and eGroups. “Group email is truly the killer application of the Internet,” remarked Peter Mills, a ONElist lead investor from CMGI@Ventures (NASDAQ: CMGI).

Forrester Research expects 50% of the U.S. population, or 135 million people, will communicate using email by 2001. In fact, analysts predict that more than one billion people will send nearly seven billion messages per day by 2002. With this merger announcement, the Internet group communications space is now ready to emerge and register on the radar screen along with other fast-growing Internet segments, such as online auctions, search tools, and e-commerce.

Mike Moritz, a lead eGroups investor from Sequoia Capital, emphasized the importance of being number one: “With 13 million members, eGroups has instantly become the undisputed leader in an emerging category. The category leader is typically worth more than the value of all other competitors combined.”

“Bringing together the two category leaders will dramatically change the competitive landscape. This merger marks an unprecedented shift in the emerging group communications arena,” said Jan Buettner, a ONElist board member from Bertelsmann Ventures. “eGroups now has widened the gap in one of the fastest growing segments of the Internet.”

eGroups Management Team

The new company’s management team will be comprised of executives from both ONElist and eGroups. “This partnership brings together some of the sharpest minds in the industry. With this combination of talent and resources from the two companies, eGroups is positioned for incredible growth in the years to come,” added Klein.

In the new company, the management team consists of the following: Michael Klein, recently hired as ONElist’s chief executive officer, will be the new CEO for eGroups; Marjorie Sennett will be senior vice president and chief financial officer; Rikk Carey, will be vice president and CTO; Steven Comfort will be vice president of sales; Jacqueline Maartense will be vice president of marketing; Jeff Winner will be vice president of engineering; Aki Oyama will lead international efforts in Japan; Marcus Riecke will be general manager of Europe; Jade Dauser will be vice president of corporate services; Jill Howes will be vice president of human resources; and Carolyn Patterson, will be vice president of operations.

Klein further noted, “With this team on board, I’m confident that we can execute a smooth and timely integration. Our plan is to continue managing separate operations and web sites for the immediate future. We will strategically integrate our businesses during the next few months so that we can assure a seamless transition for our customers.”

eGroups and ONElist Background

eGroups, Inc., formerly ONElist, Inc. and eGroups, Inc., is revolutionizing the way groups of people communicate, using email list hosting at the core of its service. The combined company serves more than 13 million members and hosts more than 260,000 active community groups that exchange more than 1.3 billion emails per month. The new company offers a range of integrated communications tools including free email communities, photo storage, file sharing, event coordination, group surveys, and chat.

Both launched in 1998, eGroups and ONElist are privately held companies based in San Francisco and Redwood City, respectively, with backing from premier venture capital investors. ONElist received venture funding from CMGI@Ventures (Nasdaq: CMGI) and Bertelsmann Ventures. eGroups, Inc. was financed by Sequoia Capital and Atlas Venture.

ONElist was founded by Mark Fletcher and Scott Shambarger. eGroups was founded by Scott Hassan, Martin Roscheisen, and Carl Page. For more information, please visit http://www.ONElist.com and http://www.eGroups.com.

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ONElist Hires Michael Klein As CEO – October 19, 1999

July 9, 2010

ONELIST APPOINTS NEW CEO AND ROUNDS OUT EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT TEAM
Experienced Industry Players Strengthen Leadership in Internet Communities

October 19, 1999, Redwood City, Calif. – ONElist (http://www.onelist.com), the leading provider of active Internet communities, today announced Michael Klein as President and CEO, effective immediately. Founder and acting CEO Mark Fletcher will remain as Chairman and will focus on the ONElist service as Vice President of Technology.

Michael Klein is a veteran technology CEO with the experience to shape ONElist’s explosive growth and e-commerce initiatives. Mr. Klein has been the CEO and founder of two successful companies: MIBEK Corporation, a developer of financial modeling and analysis software, acquired in 1992; and Transoft Networks, the world’s leading supplier of storage area networking (SAN) software, acquired by Hewlett Packard in May of 1999. Michael’s accomplishments have garnered him numerous industry awards, such as the California State Legislature’s 1999 Entrepreneur of the Year distinction and the South Coast Business Technology’s 1999 Entrepreneur of the Year award. Companies led by Michael have placed in Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500, Software Magazine’s Software 500 and Deloitte & Touche’s prestigious Fast 50. Michael has a BA in International Relations from the University of California, as well as JD and MBA degrees.

“We’re thrilled to have Michael Klein lead what is quickly becoming one of the most important Internet companies,” said Jan Buettner, General Partner at Bertelsmann Ventures. “Michael demonstrates an exceptional ability to guide new ventures to prosperity, and as ONElist moves towards its next phase of expansion, Michael’s talent and industry knowledge will ensure its continued success.”

“ONElist is the category leader in providing Internet communities,” said Michael Klein, ONElist’s President and CEO. “We will leverage this position of leadership to add innovative services for our nearly 8 million members, unique e-commerce opportunities for our partners, and extraordinary revenue sources for our investors.”

In addition to Mr. Klein’s CEO appointment, ONElist also announced several other senior management team members. Frank Mara, formerly President and Chairman of Component Integration Laboratories and an executive at Apple Computer, has joined as ONElist’s new Vice President of Marketing; Rikk Carey, a founding partner of listen.com, co-author of the VRML International Standard and a previous director at Silicon Graphics, is Vice President of Engineering; and Marcus Riecke, formerly a Vice President at America Online Germany, is now the General Manager of ONElist Europe.

“This all-star group rounds out our management team,” said Mark Fletcher. “ONElist is leading the Internet community services sector, and these new executives are instrumental in taking ONElist through our next phase of growth.”

Vice President of Engineering, Rikk Carey, has more than 18 years of experience developing software and managing technical teams. Among his many accomplishments, Rikk is one of the founders of the VRML movement; co-author of the VRML International Standard; Inaugural President of the Web3d Consortium; co-author of the book “The Annotated VRML Reference”; and co-founder of listen.com, a directory of online music started in 1998. From 1989 to 1996, Rikk was Director of Engineering at Silicon Graphics, where he led a variety of software projects including Open Inventor and Cosmo.

Marcus Riecke, General Manager of ONElist Europe, will oversee the development of ONElist’s brand and member base in Europe. Before joining ONElist, Marcus was formerly the Vice President of New Business at America Online Germany. Before joining AOL, Marcus was Managing Director of Lycos Germany.

Frank Mara, Vice President of Marketing, has over 14 years experience in the computer industry in both technical sales and marketing executive positions. Most recently, he served as President of Component Integration Laboratories, a standards organization dedicated to Internet- and intranet-based distributed component software. Previously, he has held senior-level marketing and sales management positions with Apple, The Santa Cruz Operation and IBM.

About ONElist

ONElist is the leading provider of active Internet communities, where members with common interests get together to inform, discover and collaborate. ONElist has nearly 8 million registered members who host more than 250,000 unique communities and exchange more than 1million emails/hour. Through these free discussion groups, ONElist provides specialized services and e-commerce solutions tailored to each community. Launched in 1998, ONElist is a privately held company based in Redwood City, CA. The company received venture funding from @Ventures III, the affiliated venture capital arm of CMGI, Inc. (Nasdaq: CMGI) and Bertelsmann Ventures, the independent venture capital fund of Bertelsmann AG. For more information about ONElist, visit http://www.onelist.com.

EGroups Fires CEO – September 21, 1999

July 9, 2010

Short Take: eGroups CEO steps down
By Jim Hu
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
September 22, 1999, 4:10 p.m. PT

Community Web site eGroups announced that its chief executive, Martin Roscheisen, will take a leave of absence from the company. Roscheisen is expected to return, but he will only play a strategic role, the company said. Venture capitalist Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital will serve as chief executive until a new one is appointed.

The ONElist Update – May 4, 1999

July 9, 2010

From: ONElist Tech Support  <admin@ONElist.com>
Date: Tue May 4, 1999 3:34pm
Subject: The ONElist Update for May 4, 1999

The ONElist Update for Tuesday, May 4, 1999

In this issue:

o New Customer Support Tools
o Group Calendars
o ONEreach “Grow to Give” Program
o ONElist Story of the Week
o Help us Improve ONElist!

— New Customer Support Tools —

We’ve got some exciting news on the tech support front. Although many of you know that Kate and her team have done a fantastic job of handling the volume of tech support messages coming in, ONElist has just added new customer support technology which will make the process even more efficient. Two weeks ago we implemented a new system which allows our tech support team to open and track tickets for your inquiries. We will be able to track our response time as well as tap into a knowledgebase for frequently-asked questions. This will free up our tech support team to work on issues which require more individual attention. We’ve invested in this system because it is important that we offer you the best possible customer support possible. Enjoy and let us know how we’re doing at admin@onelist.com.

— Group Calendars —

As many of you know we recently launched Group Calendars. Have you taken a moment to start using this powerful group communications feature? If not, give it a try. There are many ways in which you use it to improve the quality of your ONElist community. Why and how would you use it?

1. Keep each other informed: Post events, meetings, outings, seminars, lectures, special TV episodes, and much more to your calendar so that your subscribers can be kept informed.
2. Stay focused: Post events of interest to your group and have interesting discussions both leading up to and after the event.
3. Keep your subscribers posted of your plans for the list, for example when a group survey will be taking place and when it will end.
4. Use your imagination: Post a sporting event, coordinate book readings with your group, announce the debut of a new film, a concert, a university lecture, or a town hall meeting.

For more details, go to: http://www.onelist.com/info/news.html

— ONEreach “Grow to Give” Program —

We encourage you to participate in our new ONEreach program, “Grow to Give,” which we announced on April 19. We hope you have had the chance to inform your communities about this wonderful opportunity. Through “Grow to Give,” ONElist will donate $5,000 to the charities chosen by the two communities who increase their memberships the most by June 19, 1999. This is a great way to grow your online community, while contributing to a greater cause at the same time. For more details, go to http://www.onelist.com/info/onereachsplash.html

— ONElist Story of the Week —

Did you know that every Monday we post a “ONElist Story of the Week” on our homepage? The “ONElist Story of the Week” is a great way for list moderators and members to share how their ONElist communities are enriching their lives. We’ve been thrilled to receive a large number of inspirational stories and we encourage you and your community members to share your stories with us! For more information, see our homepage: http://www.onelist.com

— Help us Improve ONElist!  —

We are continuing to upgrade and improve the ONElist system. Our best features have been from suggestions by our users. We now have a suggestion box on our web site; look for the ‘Suggestions?’ button on the ONElist home page. Know how we can improve ONElist? Tell us about it!

Thanks again for making ONElist the leading e-mail community service!

The ONElist Team

Surveys And Calendars Announcement – Monday, April 19, 1999

July 9, 2010

From: ONElist Tech Support <admin@ONElist.com>
Date: Mon Apr 19, 1999 11:48am
Subject: Surveys and Calendars

Hello,

As part of our continuing efforts to improve and expand the ONElist system, we’ve added two new great features, Surveys and Calendars:

Surveys

List owners can now send out questionnaires to their subscribers quickly and easily. They are easy to administer and easy for users to participate in. Owners can deliver one question at a time with either single or multiple choice answers and can then view the results. To create a survey, please see the Manage List screen for your list.

We will be creating a sample survey shortly to demonstrate this new feature. A notification will be sent to the onelist_moderators list.

Group Calendars

ONElist has developed Group Calendars to allow users to easily post meetings and events which would be of interest to their group. Each list has its own private calendar, open only to its members. The ONElist calendar also allows owners to send an email notification to all members of the group to remind them of events. The calendar is accessible through the List Center screen of each list.

We are continuing to upgrade and improve the ONElist system. Our best features have been from suggestions by our users. We now have a suggestion box on our web site; look for the ‘Suggestions?’ button on the ONElist home page. Know how we can improve ONElist? Tell us about it!

Thanks again for making ONElist the leading e-mail community service!

The ONElist Team

Easing The Pain Of E-Mail Lists – San Jose Mercury News

May 26, 2010

By David Plotnikoff
Knight Ridder Newspapers

If you were to ask a dozen amateur investors what images they associate with the term “Internet start-up,” they’d most likely wax eloquent about daring young geeks racing round the clock to create new models for commerce, content and community. That and the potential for stock performance approximating that of a Saturn V rocket.

In point of fact, some of the most successful Internet entrepreneurs never introduced a paradigm-shifting, category-busting breakthrough product or service. What they did is provide pain relief — solutions that would help people cope with the abrasive, non-intuitive and downright maddening shortcomings of existing technology. This concept, which Net publishing pioneer Tim O’Reilly termed “information pain,” continues to be an ubiquitous presence in our digital world. You can bet your 401(k) that there will always be people struggling with technology — people who will pay dearly for that better digital mousetrap.

Consider e-mail lists, a tool for group communication that’s been around almost as long as the Net itself. E-mail lists are a lowest-common-denominator platform for virtual communities — cheap, durable, downright dowdy technology that’s been overshadowed for years by flashier tools such as real-time chat and people-finders. While most sectors of the Net have undergone a nearly complete metamorphosis over the last decade, e-mail lists and the technology behind them have changed little if at all. Most are still run on university servers by volunteer moderators. The robotic software that handles the mechanics of message traffic for most lists is still next-to-unintelligible for the non-technical person. And therein lies the pain. Just finding and joining mailing lists used to require mind-bending strings of Unix-based incantations. Signing off a list once enrolled often involved several more painful steps. And actually hosting such lists was 100 times worse.

Mark Fletcher felt this pain firsthand in 1988 when he got his first Net account as a computer science student at UC-San Diego. Now, the 28-year-old is doing something about it. His nascent venture, ONElist, is taking the rough edges off the unsung old technology with a Web interface that makes finding and joining lists as simple as operating a search engine. By making e-mail lists safe and inviting for non-geeks, Fletcher may trigger a great social revolution in one of the Net’s oldest and most staid neighborhoods.

After 15 months of operation, ONElist is clocking some heavy numbers: 3 million registered members; 12 million pieces of e-mail sent each day; 120,000 mailing lists. The current rate of growth for memberships is impressive even by Net standards — 30 percent per month.

At this point Fletcher is living a Silicon Valley start-up cliche: His company consists of 15 cheerful, highly caffeinated young people (only two employees over 30) sharing a cramped, sparsely furnished budget suite in an anonymous office park by Highway 101 in San Mateo. Computer carts and El Cheapo 6-foot particle-board tables are just about the only furniture in sight.

Fletcher’s journey to this boiler room began in August 1997, when the start-up he worked for, Diba, was acquired by Sun Microsystems. Fletcher sketched out 10 ideas for his own venture and ranked the list from most-achievable to least-achievable. A company that would make mailing lists appealing to the masses was at the top of that list. The operation began in January 1998 when Fletcher told a single person about the Web-based service he’d designed.

“It was a Saturday night and I sent e-mail to this one guy — a stranger in Norway — and I woke up Sunday morning and there’s a list,” says Fletcher, sitting down to chat earlier this week in ONElist’s closet-size conference room. “That first list was on a particular type of lizard called an anole. Through the first couple weeks you could trace how word spread through communities – at first 10 or 20 more lizard lists, then it would jump wildly to some other topic and we’d have 50 or 100 specialized lists on that before it’d spin out to the next area.”

Fletcher didn’t quit his day job at Sun. He ran ONElist as a one-man show for five months. “I wasn’t doing anything to promote it but it kept growing. I remember passing 10,000 users and thinking `Wow. I’m going to have to do something.”‘ Specifically, that something was hiring other engineers to make sure the digital bridge didn’t collapse under the load.

On funding, it could be said that Fletcher provided his own first round of venture cap. The first year’s operations — approximately $30,000 for rented server space — were entirely out of pocket. By December of last year when he received his first outside capital infusion, ONElist had passed 1 million members. It was time to move the company out of his living room.

ONElist has been in the current space two months. Fletcher says that with any luck they’ll be able to stay here a couple more before growth sends them packing again. The fact that ONElist continues to grow at such an explosive rate — with zero advertising and minimal marketing — says something about the need for e-mail pain-relief. The appeal of the service to long-suffering volunteer list moderators is direct and compelling: We’ll take care of all the hassles — new subscriptions, un-subscriptions, junk-mail control, delivery problems — and free you up to be the host of your party. “One of the reasons I did this in the first place,” says Fletcher, “was so that you wouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist in order to be a community leader. My father couldn’t run a (Unix-based list server) but he runs a list on ONElist.” The moderators, who pay nothing for ONElist service, will ultimately be the ones to decide if ONElist succeeds. They are the publishers, the content cops and the marketing force for their individual lists and, by extension, ONElist as a whole. And it’s the moderators’ sense of propriety that will keep the system from degenerating into the noisy anarchy that characterizes much of the Usenet newsgroup system today. Every list, bar none, is owned by an individual. Every new thread in the fabric of the electronic discussion is read and approved by a human. In a Net environment that can often seem bereft of any human oversight, this is a compelling advantage.

Fletcher hopes ONElist’s technology will make community leadership in cyberspace a bit more democratic. “It’s amazing the range of people we have running groups — people who never would have organized anything like this before. We have 10-year-olds. And we have a lot of teen-age girls with their `Titanic’ and Leo Di Caprio lists. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, we have older people researching family history. I think we have 1,500 genealogy lists devoted to different surnames alone.”

Beyond the core of moderators, ONElist could also play a role in broadening overall participation in the digital world. It’s possible for a person with no computer, no online account and no technical expertise to go to a library public access terminal, get a free Web-based e-mail account and participate in an unlimited number of ONElist communities — all without spending a dime. Fletcher says he doesn’t know how many of his users are homeless, but he does know that a significant number of the members don’t own personal computers.

So given all these democratizing tools, what are the citizen-pamphleteers of the Wired Age building out there?

Just about anything you can imagine — from family newsletters (ONElist supports closed lists that are open by invitation only) to full-blown electronic extensions for other media. (The 17,000-member “Ask Dr. Science” list, supporting the public radio show of the same name, recently migrated over to ONElist.) If there’s one stat that proves Fletcher’s digital prairie-fire is permanently changing the nature of mail lists, it’s this: The majority of the 120,000 communities were born on ONElist, not ported over from other servers. In other words, there are tens of thousands of fledgling communities — most just a few months old — that almost certainly never would have formed under the old system. While most ONElist groups have no history as a physical community, that’s not the case for all.

Eagle Mountain was once a Southern California mining-company town with a population of 2,000. When the mines closed in the ’70s, the community scattered. Now, 50 former neighbors are rebuilding a virtual Eagle Mountain neighborhood in cyberspace.

For all its social ambitions, ONElist is a bona fide business with some concrete plans for revenue. At the moment, the advertising system is essentially halfway rolled-out. Banner ads on the company’s home page — http://www.onelist.com — get 22 million page-views per month and consistently sell out. Still, relatively few users return to the home page regularly after they’re hooked up with the groups they want.

To reach those eyeballs, ONElist is just beginning to place text ads at the bottom of individual pieces of e-mail. To a potential advertiser, the advantage ONElist has over a portal or other high-traffic service is focus — the ability to identify and reach very highly targeted pools of users without getting into the thorny privacy issues that come with targeting individuals. Fletcher says that eventually the company will get additional revenue by selling enhanced services to list owners. A list owner who wanted, for example, more storage space for shared files than the system currently provides gratis would be able to purchase that extra server space a la carte.

ONElist is not the only start-up devoted to making mailing lists a true mass medium. Two other firms — eGroups and Topica – have launched since ONElist appeared on the scene. ONElist says its daily traffic volume far outstrips that of any competitor. On the other hand, eGroups claims 4 million users to ONElist’s 3 million and 150,000 lists to ONElist’s 120,000.

For now, Fletcher seems to be none too concerned with revenue or competition. He says tech support and engineering are the things he must stress now if he’s to keep the corporate rocket-sled from careening off the tracks.

“I’m a geek by birth, so the technical challenge keeps me up,” he says. “Beyond that, I lose sleep over hiring the right people in the valley’s competitive environment — engineering staff, sales team, senior management. And then I worry about how we build out the service.”

With the financial markets raining IPO money on any Net start-up that floats a prospectus and valuations defying any known logic, is it hard for Fletcher to keep his attention on the mundane service issues? He looks down at a Net trade-magazine that has splashed “This Week’s Billionaires” across the cover and smiles indulgently. “OK, this is not exactly the worst time to be around,” he says. He catches himself before the reverie can kick in. “But we have to stay focused on service — otherwise we won’t get there.”

David Plotnikoff writes about the wired life for the San Jose Mercury News, 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, Calif., 95190. E-mail plotnikoff@sjmercury.com. On the Web, dial http://www.sjmercury.com-columnists-plotnikoff

1999, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

Startups Get On The List – Red Herring Article

May 26, 2010

By Owen Thomas
Red Herring
February 26, 1999

Sometimes it seems like all of Silicon Valley is on the same mailing list.

In the past six months, a bevy of startups have gotten funding for the same goal: building a critical mass of subscribers to email lists, and building direct marketing engines targeting those subscribers.

Startup veterans formed Topica, Onelist, and eGroups in 1998. Onelist launched early last year; eGroups followed in January 1999; and Topica launched its service this week.

Topica was the first to go out for a large venture round; August Capital and Highland Capital Partners invested $4 million in August 1998, and Onelist raised the same amount from CMGI’s @Ventures arm and Bertelsmann Ventures in December. After raising a $1 million seed round in June 1998, eGroups scored another $5.1 million from Atlas Venture and Sequoia Capital in January.

A TANGLED WEB

The tight-knit venture community has taken a keen — and competitive — interest in these companies.

“Onelist got funded from CMG and Bertelsmann, and it was basically me who connected CMG and Bertelsmann together,” says eGroups CEO Martin Röscheisen. “They really wanted to invest in us, but [Sequoia partner] Mike Moritz is of such caliber that we rejected [CMG and Bertelsmann]. They turned around and put the money in Onelist.”

Bertelsmann Ventures partner Jan Buettner wouldn’t comment specifically on whether his fund approached eGroups, but says he did due diligence on several companies in the space.

“We thought that Onelist had the better management team and growth rate,” says Mr. Buettner. “I negotiate with two or three companies at one time. If you have a problem with one company, you want to have another one in place.”

And Topica and eGroups share the same law firm and strategic consultancy, the recently formed BZ Partners. Jim Brock — the legal eagle behind Yahoo (YHOO) for many years at Venture Law Group — is advising Topica, while his partner Bob Zipp is advising eGroups.

“Bob and Jim seem to be managing a Chinese wall about those topics,” says Mr. Röscheisen. (To complicate matters, Mr. Brock serves on the board of FindLaw, Mr. Röscheisen’s previous startup.)

SIBLING RIVALRY

Despite these industry connections, all three companies seem to be launching a fierce war of words.

EGroups and Onelist eagerly point to their lead on Topica in numbers. For its part, eGroups counted 3 million users and 5 million emails distributed in a day. Onelist has slightly more than 2 million users, but they’re considerably more active, at 10 million emails a day.

Topica is taking a different approach, however. The company has built a directory of lists, partly by licensing collections of mailing lists created by long-established Net volunteer groups, and partly through the acquisition of the List Exchange, a site Topica bought from Webbers Communications last summer.

“We don’t care if the list that you’re on is on Topica when we manage it,” says board member Andrew Anker, a partner at August Capital. “The other guys are building a closed system. List owners don’t care whether their subscribers are on Topica or not; subscribers don’t care whether the list is on Topica or not. … You can manage Onelist on us; you can manage eGroups on us.”

In fact, eGroups also allows subscribers to manage subscriptions to lists hosted outside. But Topica CEO Ariel Poler says that his product is designed specifically to target list owners.

“The more owners we have on our side, listed on our directory and archiving with us, the more value we can offer to consumers,” says Mr. Poler. “One thing [eGroups and Onelist] have been doing is archiving lists without permission and getting in a lot of trouble with owners.”

For eGroups’ part, it sees potential on the corporate side as well as in consumers. “We expect the OEM part to possibly be even bigger down the road,” says Mr. Röscheisen, comparing his company to Critical Path — another company that has staked its IPO hopes on outsourcing email.

Onelist, meanwhile, is focusing on the growth of its numbers.

“We expect 20 million users by the end of the year,” says Onelist CEO Mark Fletcher. “And we’ll be sending out 3 billion email messages a month.”

Those are big numbers — and they might attract big players.

“All the major portals have been very interested in getting to know us,” says Joe Gillach, Onelist’s acting vice president of marketing.

Shared Files Are Here – Thursday, February 25, 1999

May 26, 2010

From: ONElist Tech Support <admin@ONElist.com>
Date: Thu Feb 25, 1999 12:14pm
Subject: Shared Files are Here!

Hello,

The past month has been exciting and eventful for ONElist. We’ve achieved some amazing milestones and added a great new feature, Shared Files.

We are now sending 10 million email messages a day and we recently passed 2 million users. Thanks to everyone for making ONElist the leading free e-mail community service!

We redesigned our web site and we are continuing to make it easier for our users to use.

We have added Shared Files. Each list now has 5 megabytes of disk space on the ONElist web server. Subscribers can upload files to this area and other subscribers can view or download the files; it’s a private web site for your community. Check it out in the List Center area of your list.

Moderators can flag files so that they will be e-mailed to the list either bi-weekly or monthly, which is great for frequently asked question lists or monthly reminders.

Moderators can also flag files so that they will be e-mailed to users when they subscribe to the list, or when they unsubscribe from the list. Great for additional welcome and goodbye messages!

For more information on our new Shared Files area, please see:

http://www.onelist.com/info/helpshared.html

We are continuing to upgrade and improve the ONElist system. Our best features have been from suggestions by our users. We now have a suggestion box on our web site. Know how we can improve ONElist? Tell us about it!

Thanks again for making ONElist the leading e-mail community service!

The ONElist Team

Upgrade Notice – Wednesday, February 24, 1999

May 26, 2010

From: ONElist Tech Support <admin@ONElist.com>
Date: Wed Feb 24, 1999 10:40am
Subject: ONElist upgrades

Hello,

ONElist will be down for system upgrades Wednesday evening, from 8pm to 11pm Pacific Time. We are increasing our server capacity to keep up with our ever increasing user base. We apologize for the inconvenience.

At that time, we will also be adding a great new feature. An announcement will be forthcoming Thursday which will talk about it.

We now have a suggestion box on our web site. Know how we can improve ONElist? Tell us about it!

Thanks,

The ONElist Team

January 1999

May 14, 2010

ONElist started 1999 on solid ground. We had just received our first major funding, we had quit or were in the process of leaving our day jobs, and we were ready to expand the company.

January 6, 1999 – Status Report

From: ONElist Tech Support <admin@ONElist.com>
Date: Wed Jan 6, 1999 3:57pm
Subject: Status Report

Status Report for ONElist.com

Thank you for using ONElist. We continue to improve the service, based on the many suggestions from our users. Over the past two months, we’ve been able to add several new features, including:

  • Download Users
    Moderators can now download as a text file the list of email addresses of their subscribers.
  • Manager Privileges
    List managers can now have restricted privileges.
  • Redesigned web site
    We’ve changed our web site so that it no longer uses frames. We’ve also made the User Center easier to use.
  • New Lists History
    You can now view the past week of New Lists.
  • Moderated users
    Individual subscribers can now be moderated, which means that their posts need to be approved before being sent to the list.
  • Subscriber Profiles
    We have added an option so that list managers can decide whether they wish to have profiles of their subscribers available for viewing by other subscribers.

Note: We will be turning on the Subscriber Profiles function in one week. If you do not wish to have that feature available to your subscribers, please change the configuration of your list before then. You can do this through the Change List Attributes link on the Manage List screen for your list.

We are continuing to add new features and improve the ONElist system. Our goal is to make ONElist the best possible e-mail community system. To do that we need your feedback. How can we make it better? How can we make it easier to use? What features are missing?

Please email your comments to comments@onelist.com

Thanks!

The ONElist Team

January 11, 1999 – Funding Press Release

Money is only one of the currencies that Venture Capitalists deal in. One of the others is press exposure. And one of the main ways to achieve this is through press releases. Below is the press release issued by CMGI and Bertelsmann Ventures announcing the funding of ONElist. We had very little to do with this press release. I remember having to pester Deirdre Moore, head of marketing for CMGI, just to get a copy of the press release before it went out. Joe Gillach and I hurriedly worked to make sure that it reflected ONElist’s interests.

There is a certain art to crafting press releases. There are many parts to a good press release, and one of those parts is a quote from the CEO or other high-level company manager. In the press release below, for example, I’m quoted talking about our Venture Capital partners. What I learned during this process is that the CEO almost never writes the CEO quote. Marketing crafts the press release, and the CEO signs off on it.

CMG@Ventures and Bertelsmann Ventures Team For Investment in ONElist.com

Leading Provider of Internet E-Mail Communities to Tap
Business Synergies In CMGI and Bertelsmann Internet Portfolios

ANDOVER, MA—January 11, 1999 — @Ventures III, the affiliated venture capital arm of CMGI, Inc. (NASDAQ: CMGI), and Bertelsmann Ventures, the independent venture capital fund of Bertelsmann AG, today announced a joint minority investment in ONElist, Inc., the leading provider of e-mail community services. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Silicon Valley, ONElist (http://www.ONElist.com) provides free e-mail communities via the Internet. Users can search for or subscribe to tens of thousands of communities on different topics or create their own. ONElist has a wide range of user created communities, on topics ranging from genealogy to military spouse support, from Muscular Dystrophy to the pop music group ‘N SYNC.

“ONElist has developed a unique service that allows online consumers to create and promote their own email communities based on common interests,” said David Wetherell, chairman and CEO of CMGI. “ONElist’s service is highly complimentary to other companies within the CMGI family. ONElist has already begun discussions with a number of CMGI affiliates, and we intend to exploit these synergies further in the months ahead.”

Added Wetherell, “The added bonus of this new investment is the expansion of our relationship with Bertelsmann, already an important international partner for Lycos. CMGI’s diverse family of Internet companies, combined with Bertelsmann’s vast media properties, provides ONElist with a tremendous opportunity to expand upon their success.”

“We’re very excited about ONEList’s compelling service,” said Jan Henric Buettner, general partner, Bertelsmann Ventures. “The ability of online communities to capture a large consumer base with a strong viral growth component is one of the most thrilling phenomena of the Internet. Bertelsmann has a long history of developing vertical community concepts and we intend to leverage those skills, as well as the Bertelsmann affiliated properties, to help ONElist become a very successful business on the Web.”

“This investment by CMGI and Bertelsmann represents a major validation of ONElist, and we’re thrilled to be working with companies of their stature. This is a tremendous opportunity for us to work with their portfolio companies to reach millions of new users, and to expand upon our leadership in this space,” said Mark Fletcher, President and CEO, ONElist.

About ONElist, Inc.

Based in Silicon Valley, CA, ONElist, Inc. is the premier provider of free E-mail communities via the Internet. The ONElist service can be located at http://www.onelist.com.

About Bertelsmann Ventures

Based in Santa Barbara, CA, and focusing on Internet-based investments, Bertelsmann Ventures is the independent venture capital fund of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world’s largest media companies.

About CMGI

A recognized leader in the Internet arena, CMGI (NASDAQ: CMGI) combines operating companies with strategic venture investments to create a broad and diverse set of businesses delivering Internet solutions. Microsoft, Intel and Sumitomo hold minority positions in CMGI. The CMGI Internet Group consists of its majority-owned subsidiary companies ADSmart, Engage Technologies, NaviSite, NaviPath, Planet Direct, Magnitude Network and ZineZone.

Friday, January 15, 1999 – They Want a New CEO

A few days after the press release announcing our funding went out, I received a call from assistant to Peter Mills, one of our CMGI venture partners. Peter and Jon Callaghan, our CMGI board member, wanted to meet with me at their office. Through the funding process and some meetings afterwards, I had spent some time with Jon and Peter, but the relationship was still new. We hadn’t even had our first board meeting yet. The meeting was set for the end of the day, Friday January 15.

The meeting lasted about an hour and was in Jon’s office. The building that CMGI occupied was an older, two story wood structure that they shared with a small electronics company. I never figured out what the electronics company did, except that they always looked like they were soldering ancient circuit boards pulled from machines dating back to the Paleolithic Era.

Jon and Peter spent the meeting telling me that while I had done a good job starting the company, they thought that I was not appropriate to be the CEO of ONElist. While they had not spent a great deal of time with me yet, they had started to get the feeling that I was ‘not CEO material.’ This was a shock to me. We hadn’t even had a board meeting yet. I was scrambling to get my company together, and they wanted to bring in a new CEO. Throughout the entire hour meeting, I think I maybe uttered no more than a few sentences. I was shocked. We ended the meeting without anything being decided. I was to “think about things.”

Numb, I went home and took my girlfriend out for pizza and beer. I was so totally stunned that I wasn’t able to tell her, or my family, about the meeting until the next day. In a word, things sucked.

January 20, 1999 – ONElist ONE Year Anniversary

From: ONElist Tech Support <admin@ONElist.com>
Date: Wed Jan 20, 1999 12:59pm
Subject: ONElist Anniversary!

The ONElist Status Report

ONElist Turns ONE Year Old!!

This week is ONElist’s ONE year anniversary. With the creation of the anole@onelist.com list one year ago, we began our amazing journey as the premiere provider of E-mail communities.

To celebrate our anniversary, we have created a new feature on the ONElist web site – ONElist of the Week. This feature will allow us to highlight some of the many different ways in which people are using ONElist.

List managers, this is a great way to get some exposure for your ONElist. How are you using ONElist in a unique and interesting way?

Subscribers, have you had an interesting experience with ONElist you are willing to share?

How has ONElist changed your life?

We are currently accepting submissions for the ONElist of the Week. To submit your list or story, please visit the ONElist home page, at http://www.onelist.com and click on the _Share your Story_ link. We will begin sharing the ONElist of the Week soon!

Thanks again for a terrific first year!!

The ONElist Team