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Field Reports

1 Jan, 2006 By: Thomas Haire, Nicole Urso Reed Response

Trudeau Speaks Out on State of ERA Lawsuit

"We're in the business of news and information, so our hope is that this Web site will become an invaluable resource and a daily destination for our clients and direct response advertisers," says Greg D'Alba, COO of CNN Ad Sales and Marketing. The site will offer video demonstrations, CNN programming clips and highlights, ad samples, audience profiles and ratings information — as well as a "community page" describing how DR advertising can enhance brand awareness and perception.

"We are thrilled to provide Response's independent, leading-edge editorial content to the news world's most established presence in CNN," says John Yarrington, publisher of Response. "CNN is not only a long-time leader in TV and online news, but the company also understands how important the DR world is to its bottom line, and the debut of this new Web site demonstrates that."

D'Alba adds, "Direct response ads have immediate, measurable results, which are very attractive to advertisers. CNN networks are a proven purchase mechanism that can really build a brand's image, and you know it's working when advertisers come back." According to CNN statistics, more than 90 percent of CNN's DR clients in 2004 were repeat buyers — and that total increased to nearly 100% in 2005.





Knowles Says Opportunities Outweigh Challenges


As ERA chair closes in on halfway point of his term, he calls online alliance, international aspects the focus of his remaining time.

By Thomas Haire [email protected]

Jeffrey D. Knowles, partner at Washington, D.C. law firm Venable LLP and long-time direct response industry leader, took on the chairmanship of the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA) in September. Four months later, Knowles has seen the growth of new initiatives — the Online Retail Alliance (ORA) — and taken on his share of surprises, including Kevin Trudeau's multi-million dollar suit against ERA and its president, Barbara Tulipane.

Recently, Response caught up with Knowles and talked about his experience so far and his plans for the remainder of his tenure.

Q What have been your major challenges and opportunities as ERA chair thus far?

A On the positive side, there's ERA's launch of the Online Retail Alliance (ORA). It's taken quite a bit of time, but we had a successful first meeting in Washington in October. ORA is part of ERA's effort to broaden its mandate under the "electronic retailing" banner. This is an important step the board has talked about for some time, but there had never been a lot of muscle behind it. This is the first time we really tried to make a concrete outreach to the Internet community, and in the initial phase we have also extended our government affairs reach to issues of importance to Web and E-commerce companies. The first meeting drew leaders from eBay and InterActive Corp. (IAC, parent company of DR giant HSN), as well as the heads of the Washington offices of companies like Google and Yahoo!. When you're building a grassroots organization, it always helps to get a number of key players on the national scene involved right away.

The biggest challenge so far has to be the filing of Trudeau's suit against ERA. The suit has taken time as chair, especially in meeting with counsel for the defense of the suit. As you know, I was ERA's general counsel from 1990-2002, and the association has never been sued before. That meant lining up counsel and other things we hadn't done before. I worked with the board and executive committee — and our legal task force — to select ERA's defense counsel. We're vigorously defending the suit and expect that both counts of the complaint will be stricken.

Q Are you working more with the international markets during your chairmanship?

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