IQ News: Seeks Shop For $15-20 Mil. Account

Ten unidentified agencies will vie for the $15-20 million ad account of, a relatively new site that allows users to request services and products and then sit back and wait for bids to roll in.
Separately, this week unveils a new home page allowing users to see immediately the available categories and subcategories on the site. Two categories have been added in response to user requests: a small- and home-office section, as well as an antiques and collectible section. The additions account for a 50 percent increase in the number of merchants, which now number more than 150,000 nationwide.
The word “imandi” has its origin in the Hindi word “mandi,” meaning bazaar or marketplace. The company was founded in the fall of 1998 by two former Microsoft executives, Raghav Kher and Eric Johnson, and the site went live at the end of May backed by private investors. The company is currently in talks with venture capitalists to drum up additional financing.
The review is in its early stages, according to Blake Park, vice president of marketing for the Redmond, Wash.-based company, which is handling the search in-house. Park says the account could be split between an online shop and a traditional agency, although media will probably be housed with the lead shop. will talk to a total of ten traditional and online shops nationwide before choosing one by the end of October.
While the budget is still being finalized, the $15-20 million target is an annual figure, with print, radio, outdoor and online beginning first quarter 2000.
The site has run banners created by Adhesive Media, Seattle, and served via ValueClick and Flycast, based in Carpinter’a, Calif., and San Francisco, respectively. Park says Adhesive will not be included in the review because aims to align with a larger shop. The current tagline, “Where customers rule,” could be scrapped, although Park says the site gained 30,000 users from Adhesive’s campaign with that tag.
The new agencies will be charged with establishing the identity. “It’s getting the name out there and building the brand on the real benefit,” states Blake. “It’s a one-stop shop.”