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WhatCounts at Forefront of Social Media Striking Strategic Partnerships with Meteor Solutions and Quorus

WhatCounts Social Media Suite to Grow into Industry's Most Comprehensive Set of Social Media Tools

Internet Retailer 2010 Conference & Exhibition SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Announced at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, WhatCounts has entered into strategic partnerships with social media innovators Meteor Solutions, a leader in social media tracking and incentives, and Quorus, a pioneer in word-of-mouth social shopping technologies. The new Social Media Suite will incorporate technologies from both partners into the WhatCounts platform, available as a Web-hosted application or as part of the BroadcasterTM appliance line.
"Email marketers need more sophisticated technologies to increase online social engagement with consumers and convert them to customers and brand advocates"
Social media plays a critical role in influencing consumer behavior and buying decisions. By integrating best-in-class social media tools, WhatCounts customers will be able to leverage social media's viral nature and design highly effective email-marketing campaigns. The power of word-of-mouth marketing in the purchasing process is considerable:
  • Social media increases consumer conversion rates by up to a factor of four (Meteor Solutions, 2010).
  • The average consumer mentions specific brands more than 90 times per week in conversations with friends, family and co-workers. (John Moore, WOMMA, 2010)
  • In a study by myYearbook, 81 percent of respondents said they had received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site; 74 percent of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their decision. (ClickZ, January 2010)
WhatCounts' expanding Social Media Suite will enable enterprise email-marketers to achieve numerous benefits, including:

1. The ability to create a social shopping experience that allows consumers to invite friends to shop and converse with them online, all from the company Web site and featured product page.

2. Discovering social media influencers who impact their brands, and multi-level insights into the network of individuals these influencers reach.

3. A built-in system to reward social media influencers with incentives, such as discounts and special offers, to further encourage sharing and word of mouth.

4. Rich analytics to track and measure the effectiveness of social media all the way through to the moment of purchase.

5. The ability to implement new email-acquisition and engagement programs through social media efforts.

WhatCounts will support its partners' cutting-edge social media technologies with its team of in-house email and social media service experts. In addition to helping clients develop high-impact social media programs, the WhatCounts service team will help ensure that email marketing campaigns and social media efforts are built upon a coordinated strategy.

"For too long, email service provider solutions for social media have been limited to monitoring functions, just listening to the social media conversation that's going on around them," said Brian Ratzliff, president of WhatCounts. "Our partnerships with Meteor Solutions and Quorus will provide a robust platform for brands to proactively create rich social media experiences for consumers, and develop deeper relationships with their best social media advocates."

WhatCounts will become an exclusive provider in the Email Service Provider (ESP) space of Meteor Solutions' social media technology - Meteor Tracker and Meteor Ignite. Meteor Solutions' unique technology enables companies to identify and incent social media influencers to share information about brands, and can track these interactions throughout social ecosystems all the way to conversion.

"Marrying the power of our social media platform with WhatCounts' proven email-marketing system is a natural way to extend the availability of word-of-mouth tools to enterprise marketers," said Ben Straley, CEO at Meteor Solutions. "This partnership will enable WhatCounts clients to achieve whole new levels of return on investment with their best customers as well as their prospects."

"Both WhatCounts and Meteor Solutions have long demonstrated their technical expertise and ability to innovate in their respective spaces," stated Andrea Rogers, director of marketing for Off and Away. "This new partnership will result in a greater level of strategic integration. Combining email marketing with social media functions should prove to make email even more effective."

The partnership with Quorus will result in the availability of the company's communication, context and connections functionality within the WhatCounts platform. The Quorus solution will allow email marketers to seamlessly build interactive social shopping and conversation toolbars that appear on their Web sites, allowing consumers to conduct private multi-party discussions with their friends regarding purchasing decisions.

"Email marketers need more sophisticated technologies to increase online social engagement with consumers and convert them to customers and brand advocates," said Michael Dougherty, CEO of Quorus. "By offering an integrated solution within the WhatCounts email marketing platform, we're delivering high-value social media tools to more brands on their Web sites and in an environment optimized for usability and overall effectiveness."

Initial integration of both Meteor Solutions and Quorus technologies is scheduled to be complete by the third quarter of this year. Pricing for the add-on social media services will be published upon product availability.

About WhatCounts, Inc.
WhatCounts, a private Seattle-based company founded in 2000, is a technology leader and innovator in the permission-based email service provider (ESP) space. WhatCounts offers a fully integrated lifestyle marketing platform, including dynamic content delivery, sophisticated polls and surveys, integrated blogging/RSS capabilities, Video Email system and social media tools. Deliverability management, strategic coaching, best practices benchmarking, CRM integration and advanced analytics facilitate ROI maximization. The robust WhatCounts platform can be purchased as a hosted Web-based application or as part of the unique BroadcasterTM appliance. For more information, please visit www.whatcounts.com or call (800) 440-7005.

About Meteor Solutions
Meteor Solutions' hosted software solution enables marketers and publishers to measure, manage, and monetize earned media - the word of mouth conversations, blog posts, tweets, viral videos, and other unpaid content a brand creates or encourages - with the same precision as paid media programs like search, display advertising, and email. With Meteor's technology platform, marketers can easily determine in real-time the actual impact of social media on traffic and conversion, find key influencers, and better engage target audiences. Meteor customers include brands such as Alaska Airlines, Microsoft, and Red Bull, as well as agencies like Ayzenberg Group and Creature. Meteor Solutions is a privately held company based in Seattle, Wash. www.meteorsolutions.com

About Quorus
Headquartered in Seattle, WA, Quorus creates software solutions that drive deeper engagement in ecommerce. Fully hosted and powered by a simple Javascript include, Quorus consists of two products: Discuss and Engage. Quorus Discuss takes social commerce to a new level by enabling users to privately converse and shop with friends or family, right inside any web site. Quorus Engage is a post-click marketing solution that empowers marketers to easily message users "post-click" after they arrive at the core website. Engage can leverage contextual information about the user - such as whether they arrived from search, email, social, or affiliate channels - as well as any other site or user analytics data. Learn more by visiting Quorus at www.quorus.com.

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