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"Cookies" Crumble as Digital Envoy Acquires $1.2 Million for Development Of Non-Invasive Internet Targeting Technology; Raising Stakes in the Internet Privacy Standards War, the Newly Formed Company Seeks to Revolutionize Web Tracking and Customer Service Activities.

 

DULUTH, Ga., March 7 /2000 -- As government and industry leaders struggle over standards to protect consumer privacy on the Internet, a promising Atlanta-area company, Digital Envoy, Inc., announced that it has raised $1.2 million in additional capital to produce its technology for targeted, non-invasive Web marketing.

The private funding enables Digitial Envoy to complete initial development and marketing of the patent-pending NetAcuity™ line of solutions, which will provide businesses with reliable geographic information about Web site visitors. The Digital Envoy technology also enables organizations to tailor Web-based advertising and marketing activities on the fly for targeted groups of consumers and conduct detailed geographic traffic analysis to determine accurately the overall geographic make-up of the target audience.

"Our mission is to maintain consumer privacy while still permitting businesses to take advantage of the rifle-shot target marketing capabilities of the Internet,'' said Sanjay Parekh, president and founder of Digital Envoy. "Our products will provide a much clearer focus on the interest of groups of consumers in a specific location than any other technology available today.

''The initial Digital Envoy investors include Melbourne IT, a leading Internet services company in Australia; Paul Phillips, founder and former chief technology officer of Go2NET; Allen Graber, founder of Hypermart, now part of the Go2NET network; Dan Ciprari, vice president, S1 Corporation, and Coty Rosenblath, chief architect of S1 Corporation.

Additional co-founders of Digital Envoy include, among others, one of the former co-founders of Excite, Inc. (one of the leading Internet portals) and one of the former co-founders of NetSys Technologies (now part of Cisco Systems).

Parekh said the investment team strength is the strongest endorsement yet that Digital Envoy is on course to launch a new breed of products to customize consumers' Web site experiences. Funding, he added, enables the company to continue assembling an all-star team of technologists, software developers and Web operations experts involved in the product evolution.

Rather than employing online questionnaires or the privacy-invading "cookies'' that often gather confidential information from a consumer's computer about their Web-surfing habits, Digital Envoy technology develops anonymous profiles of consumers based on the location from which they access the Internet.

Atlanta attorney Pete Wellborn, member of a special U.S. Senate advisory committee on Internet technology and an expert in the field of abusive Internet marketing tactics, applauded the development.

"This kind of technology goes to the very heart of privacy concerns,'' said Wellborn, a partner in the firm Arnall Golden & Gregory. "An Internet user no longer needs to provide private information to each web site he or she visits to maximize the web experience.

''Prospective customers of Digital Envoy technology include large Internet portal companies that have specific portions of their sites targeted regionally or nationally or for smaller Websites that need to expand their reach more effectively. Parekh said the ability to link "hits'' to geographic areas will be an extremely desirable feature for online merchants, Internet service providers (ISPs), content providers, credit card companies and others that carry advertising targeting consumers in specific cities and regions.

"Technology like this definitely will cause our company to re-examine its reluctance to buy Internet advertising,'' said Dean Breest, a spokesman for U.S. operations of the French air carrier, Air France. "If we have a special fare promotion for the Los Angeles area, why should we buy advertising that's going all over the world?''

Although Digital Envoy technology has been under development for close to a year, Parekh said recent well-publicized events, including a major financial software vendor's Website accidentally providing customers' private financial information to an Internet advertising company, underscores the need for an alternative technology."

Digital Envoy's solutions are designed for organizations that respect the privacy of their customers while at the same time providing those customers with content that enhances the online experience,'' said Parekh. Consumers should not have to pay for personalized service by submitting private demographic information about themselves unknowingly or unwillingly. We believe we can rid the world of 'cookies' and still provide eCommerce companies with the demographic information they need to be successful.''

About Digital Envoy

Founded in 1999, Digital Envoy has headquarters at 4500 River Green Parkway in Duluth, Ga., located approximately 25 miles northeast of Atlanta. It also has a satellite operation in Monterey, Calif.

For more information about Digital Envoy or its NetAcuity product line, call 678-474-9766 or visit the company's site at www.digitalenvoy.net on the World Wide Web.