Its new inChorus Pro lets marketers create e-mails that include graphics, animation, voice and sound. Softlink's proprietary compression technology minimizes download time for the recipient, and the resulting e-mails can be played within any e-mail client, according to the company.
Softlink CEO William Yuan said rich e-mail will drive another spike into the heart of the moribund banner ad. "Banners are annoying," he said, "but with e-mail, people can choose to read it."
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company also makes eMail VOICELink, a $19.95 version for consumers. "InChorus Pro has more features than VOICELink for creating the message," Yuan said. "It's also cross-platform for recipients, which is a big issue for e-mail marketers. When you're sending millions of messages, you don't know what e-mail applications the recipients are using."
Jonathan Penn, senior information analyst for Giga Information Group, Cambridge, Mass., said advertisers will get the most benefit from the technology. "The most fruitful area [for rich e-mail] is in marketing by e-mail," Penn said. "The richer the experience you can deliver to the recipient, the more effective these campaigns are going to be."
Softlink also announced that it would provide message creation services on a fee basis. The company will act as a production house for marketers who are not working with a creative agency and don't have in-house staff to craft e-mail marketing messages.
The target market for the software is ad agencies and the internal marketing departments of Fortune 1000 companies. Licenses will cost from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on the number of seats.