Sixdegrees has retained Pile and Co. here to help find its first agency of record.
The New York-based "Internet community" plans to spend $6-10 million on offline and online efforts, said representative Rebecca Tompkins.
Formed in 1997, Sixdegrees is looking for a shop to craft a branding and membership acquisition campaign for www.sixdegrees.com, a site supporting a broad range of e-commerce, auction and search capabilities, Tompkins said.
Consultants with Pile and Co. are in the process of forming criteria for participation and making initial contacts with agencies. Shops with an office in New York are strongly preferred, Tompkins said.
Semifinalists will be selected within three weeks, with a cut to finalists coming shortly thereafter. A final decision is slated for October, she said.
The winning shop will be asked to create and place a national campaign; in addition to crafting a strong brand identity, helping the client build on its nearly three million member base is paramount, Tompkins said. The offline portion of the effort will likely include TV and print ads, she added.
The Sixdegrees logo includes the tagline, "You'd be surprised who you know," though it is not clear if that positioning will be used in upcoming ads.
The privately held company competes with various vendors. These include online Yellow Page providers like PeopleSearch.com, where the search function is the main attraction, and member "communities" such as Amazon.com's PlanetAll, which offers a variety of services based on members' interests and buying habits.
With the Internet marketplace growing increasingly competitive, "It's time to aggressively brand ourselves. It's time to step up," hence the review, Tompkins said.
Membership in Sixdegrees is free. The company collects fees from advertiser-sponsored e-mail "updates," auctions and banner ads.