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February 4, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Huntsville, Alabama-based Revnet Systems Inc is pitching into a market that has been traditionally dominated by freeware software with a set of commercial internet mail list server products. The five year-old company’s UnityMail 2, soon to be upgraded to version 2.1, competes with widely used non-commercial list server software tools such as listserv and majordomo. But, says the company, its product closely integrates list server functionality with corporate databases. Revnet, which was formed in 1994 by a group of employees from the Windows NT team working at Intergraph Corp, is aiming the product at e-commerce site developers who want to use sophisticated email targeting techniques to attract visitors back to their sites, based on what they bought or looked at when they visited. The Revnet engine, which runs on Windows NT and comes bundled with the Microsoft Access database, can deliver personalized, targeted email sorted dynamically by demographic attributes. The resulting emails sent out are received as expected follow-ups rather than spam, says the company. If Access isn’t powerful enough, the system is linkable via ODBC to SQL Server 6.5, Oracle 7 and 8. Revnet currently runs high profile list servers for Sony Corp’s Playstation site, Sony Music’s Celine Dion page, the New York Yankees site and Carnegie Hall. UnityMail 2 costs around $4,000 for 10,000 subscribers, or $6,000 with ODBC support. Revnet also has a new email merge too for Windows 95 and NT, called MailKing. Revnet, which currently employs around 30 people, plans to expand its product line with transaction processing support and faster email delivery. Currently, Revnet’s biggest competition comes from companies who build systems themselves, often on top of majordomo or listserv. But L-Soft International Inc of Landover, Maryland, currently has a beta version list server that also includes database integration. L-Soft was formed in 1993 by Eric Thomas the original author of listserv, which started life as a mainframe tool before being ported to VMS and Unix. L-Soft still offers free versions of the listerv software alongside commercial versions.

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