Flurry of Dot.coms Go on Hunt for New Agencies

NEW YORK-Advertising agencies were going dotty last week, driven to distraction by another blizzard of national dot.com reviews.
Sites now on the lookout for agencies include Project Ion, Bolt.com and WorldlyInvestor.com.
Bolt, a 3-year-old youth destination, has received a new round of financing from Time Warner, AOL, Ford Motor and venture-capital firms, said a company representative. Bolt has contacted several shops and is at an early phase of a review for its first agency. Spending was not disclosed, but sources estimated it at $10 million.
“Our goal is to expand into offline,” said the Bolt representative. Bolt plans to become a teen brand on MTV’s level, said a source, offering products that range from CDs to broadcast programming.
In other news, Brad Mehl, Bolt’s vp of advertising and a former director of marketing at CDNow, has bolted the com-pany. “It was an amicable departure,” said Dan Pelson, Bolt CEO. Todd Ames, who had worked in marketing at MTV Networks, now heads the Bolt marketing department.
Project Ion, New York, is also contacting shops, confirmed Nancy Olds, a company representative. Venture capital firm W.S. Hold is the parent of Project Ion, which has raised $3.2 million in startup financing.
The company is offering a product that “will revolutionize the way Internet users make decisions online,” according to its site. Sources say it is a comparison-shopping service, but shops have been asked to sign a four-page secrecy agreement. “We’re operating in stealth mode,” said Olds. Project Ion is looking to spend $5 million on advertising over six months, said sources.
Finally, WorldlyInvestor, a site providing investment information that is based in New York, is on the watch for an agency, said sources. The incumbent is aka Euro RSCG in San Francisco, formerly Cohn & Wells. Spending is estimated at $15 million.
“We’re looking for a public relations agency,” explained Andrew Brunger, director of advertising at WorldlyInvestor. “From our position we’re not looking for an ad agency.”
The client has contacted several New York advertising agencies.