An Internet-based postage service provider is in the midst of a search for its first ad agency. Billings are estimated at $16 million, according to sources.
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Stamps.com has contacted eight midsized-to-large shops in Southern California, said sources. There is no search consultant, but sources said the company has hired an undisclosed marketing consultant to assist with the search.
Company founder and vice president of marketing Jeffrey Green confirmed Stamps.com is conducting a review, but declined further comment.
The company has met with all eight agencies, described by sources as "big-name shops," and will narrow the list to finalists this week.
The company plans a midyear national rollout of its Internet Postage Service, an e-commerce system that will enable users to print postage onto envelopes from their computers. Stamps.com is currently the only such company approved by the U.S. Postal Service for market testing that doesn't require additional computer hardware for security.
Founded as StampMaster in 1996, Stamps.com plans to advertise primarily to small businesses. Sources said it is also preparing for an initial public offering.
The company recently completed a $30 million private equity placement co-led by Vulcan Ventures and Chase Capital Partners. Its partners include America Online, Avery Dennison and Peachtree Software.
Separately, the company named Marvin Runyon, the recently retired postmaster general; Loren E. Smith, former senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the U.S. Postal Service; and David C. Bohnett, founder and chairman of GeoCities, to its board of directors.