3 Left Vying for $40 Mil. Register.com Account

Three agencies have emerged as finalists in the review for the estimated $40 million Regis-ter.com account, the client confirmed.

After initially contacting 12 New York shops, Mara Gross, assistant marketing manager at the New York-based client, said D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Grey Worldwide and OgilvyOne, the interactive unit of Ogilvy & Mather, all in New York, are scheduled to make final pitches this week.

A decision is expected before Christmas, she said.

Register.com, an Internet domain-name registry established in 1994, is looking for a global advertising campaign, particularly one that will heighten awareness of its service in the Pacific Rim.

This year, the company teamed up with i-DNS.net to apply to the government for the ability to provide multilingual domain names ending in .com, .net and .org via the i-DNS Internationalized Domain Name System.

The alliance will soon enable its customers to register domain names containing Japanese, Chinese and Korean characters directly from the site, which boasts a registry of more than 3 million domain names.

Gross cited each finalist’s strength in terms of client needs. “OgilvyOne’s direct marketing philosophy matched ours,” she said. “Grey would be able to incorporate branding consistent with our acquisition goals, [and] D’Arcy’s creative was similar in tone to the direction we’re looking to go.”

A new campaign is expected early in first-quarter 2001, Gross said.

Schoenfeld Partners in New York handles media planning, while Carat, also in New York, does the buying. Gross said both agencies are participating in the review to retain those duties, while OgilvyOne, Grey and D’Arcy have been asked to present media planning and buying recommendations.

A source said of Register.com, “It’s a nice piece of business simply because it’s a dot-com that’s long term and has got some decent money behind them.”

The company, which went public in March, reported $165 million in cash and cash equivalents for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Incumbent Concept Farm in New York is not taking part in the review. The shop created TV, radio, print and online ads for the client in 1999. Its most recent work ran nationally this past summer on network and cable TV and touted the site as being “the first step on the Web.”

The client spent only $1 million in measured media in 1999, but spent about $15 million from January to July 2000, per Competitive Media Reporting. © JOANNA T. STEICHEN