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Pile and Co. to Launch Online Guide

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Review Consultant Starts Company to Publish Agency Directory
BOSTON--Pile and Co. principals are preparing to launch an online directory of agencies through a company incorporated earlier this month called Agency ComPile.
The directory will list shops for free but charge a $60 monthly fee to "enhance" a listing with a creative portfolio, including clips from television and radio spots.
Adweek Magazines in March also will launch a searchable guide called the Adweek Agency Directory, according to publishing director Mitch Tebo. It will contain information on 6,600 advertising, public relations, media and speciality agencies. National Register Publishing, which puts out The Agency Redbook, also has an online directory in the works.
Agency ComPile has formed an alliance with RealNetworks, Seattle, to provide the technology that makes streaming audio and video on the site possible.
"It will supplement the review business, but we intend to have hundreds, thousands of agencies listed," said Pile and Co. chairman Skip Pile, who, along with president Rick Hooker, holds the same title at the new entity. "We saw it as a natural extension of our consulting practice."
The chief executive of a midsized Boston shop, speaking on terms of anonymity, blasted Pile's venture as little more than "a scam."
"What are the chances of being in a review" run by Pile and Co. if shops don't pay "their monthly tribute?" the executive wondered. "It's like in the old neighborhood, paying protection."
"Agencies really think I'm extorting them by charging $60 a month? That I would black list them if they don't fork it over?" Pile asked. "That's totally ridiculous."
The incorporation of Agency ComPile caps a two-year development process. "We intend this as a value-added service to what we really concentrate on: identifying criteria for a review, building consensus [within the client] on a decision, negotiating the contract terms," Pile said.
If an agency were to set out on their own to do this, it would cost, initially anyway, at least $25,000, Pile contended. "Right now nobody's paying a thing."
Both the Advertising Agency Register and Select Resources International offer "pay to play" services, in which agencies pay fees for being included in databases from which these two review consulting practices draw up contender lists for clients.