StartSampling Press Releases

January 7, 2002
SAMPLING LEADERS FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO EXTEND
SAMPLING EVENTS FROM OFFLINE TO ONLINE

September 4, 2001
STARTSAMPLING PROMOTION WITH CHICAGO-AREA
LOEWS CINEPLEX BREAKS MOVIE ATTENDANCE RECORD

June 1, 2001
STARTSAMPLING HELPS SHORT MOUNTAINS GET A READ ON
CHILDREN'S BOOK MARKET

May 16, 2001
STARTSAMPLING HELPS BOOST WATER RECORDS' DANA MASE LATEST
SINGLE TO NUMBER 1 ON MP3 CHARTS

February 6, 2001
STUDY SUGGESTS ONLINE PROMOTIONS INFLUENCE
BRAND LOYALTY AND PURCHASE BEHAVIOR

November 30, 2000
STARTSAMPLING REACHES MILLION MEMBER MILESTONE

October 18, 2000
STARTSAMPLING NAMED ‘TOP 100 FAMILY WEB SITE’ BY FAMILY PC MAGAZINE

September 21, 2000
STARTSAMPLING STRENGTHENS COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

August 23, 2000
TOP WEB SITE STARTSAMPLING.COM APPOINTS CFO

August 21, 2000
STARTSAMPLING PARTNERSHIP OFFERS SOMETHING NEW - MUSIC COMPACT DISCS

August 9, 2000
STARTSAMPLING TEAMS-UP WITH KANA TO STRENGTHEN ONE-TO-ONE
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS

August 7, 2000
STARTSAMPLING NAMED AS A TOP WEBSITE

July 10, 2000
STARTSAMPLING NAMED AS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING WEBSITES
BY NIELSEN NETRATINGS

June 29, 2000
STARTSAMPLING SWEEPSTAKES WINNER TO START TRAVELING

June 15, 2000
CREAMY OVER CRUNCHY, LIQUID OVER BAR

June 15, 2000
STARTSAMPLING NAMED USA TODAY’S "HOT SITE"

May 3, 2000
STARTSAMPLING“ REVOLUTIONIZES PRODUCT SAMPLING

May 31, 2000
AUCTION-LIKE SITE HAS USERS GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE

April 27, 2000
STARTSAMPLING LEASES 10,000 SQUARE FEET OF OFFICE AND WAREHOUSE SPACE
IN CAROL STREAM

March 29, 2000
STARTSAMPLING NAMES EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT TEAM

March 14, 2000
STARTSAMPLING CLOSES ON $10.5 MILLION IN FIRST ROUND
OF VENTURE FINANCING



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com
(630) 868-2028

SAMPLING LEADERS FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO EXTEND SAMPLING EVENTS FROM OFFLINE TO ONLINE

CAROL STREAM, IL, (January 7, 2002) - Effective immediately, StartSampling, Inc. (www.StartSampling.com), a leading online marketing and promotions company is partnering with Atlanta-based Sports & Entertainment Direct (www.sedirect.com), the offline leader in sports, entertainment and recreational sampling to extend traditional, offline sampling programs into the online space - a benefit previously unavailable to brand marketers.

This alliance pairs StartSampling and Sports & Entertainment Direct, two firms who are leaders in the online and event sampling arenas, respectively, to bring their expertise to Consumer Packaged Goods clients. By combining forces, StartSampling and Sports & Entertainment Direct are able to offer customers an integrated package of marketing services, enabling clients to leverage the best of traditional and online sampling capabilities.

Initially, the charter programs will build on Sports & Entertainment Direct's participation at premiere event and sports venues, including NASCAR, College Bowl games, tailgating programs and more. As part of the relationship, StartSampling will work closely with Sports & Entertainment Direct to maximize the return on investment of the "Fan Bag," Sports & Entertainment Direct flagship cooperative marketing program. With StartSampling developing and managing post-sample research surveys, brand marketers can, for the first time, cost effectively conduct and collect quantitative and qualitative consumer research on new and existing products.

The post-sample research surveys will be conducted by having clients place a card via secondary packaging, inviting immediate response to brand-specific questions. Other formats that will drive consumers to the StartSampling Web site include "on bag" promotions, separate insert cards offering consumers "free tickets" or valued offers in return for visiting a client's branded Web site and providing feedback. Sports & Entertainment Direct clients will now have real-time primary research available to them as part of their participation at one of the Sports & Entertainment Direct event venues.

"Clients can adjust their ongoing programs with us in order to adapt to what consumers are telling them based on the data collected following the event," said Bob Perlstein, president of Sports & Entertainment Direct. "This is a real breakthrough for our clients as they will be able to quickly evaluate the effectiveness of their promotional programs."

"Our partnership with Sports & Entertainment Direct is a natural extension of our online, targeted sampling and research capabilities," said Larry Burns, StartSampling president and CEO. "Working with a leader in the event marketing segment provides our customers with new options to maximize their brands' exposure beyond an event, capture in-depth consumer feedback and begin the process of cultivating a long-term relationship with each consumer. This is a partnership where the sum of our services is better than the individual parts."

Added Perlstein, "Having the opportunity to offer our clients quick answers to their branded questions and extend our event sampling expertise to the online world, via StartSampling, is just one more way we continue to provide new services to meet the needs of our customers. This is clearly important at a time when the event marketing segment is expected to grow nearly 40% and online sampling is also enjoying double-digit growth."

About Sports & Entertainment Direct

Sports & Entertainment Direct provides integrated event marketing programs. These programs include solo sampling, co-op fan bags, one-to-one dialogue at tent/booth locations programs, mobile advertising and telephone billboard kiosk advertising. These programs are available at major events including professional and college football games, auto racing, major golf events, the college national basketball championship, professional baseball and horse racing. In 2001 Sports & Entertainment Direct added a touring sports memorabilia "road show" featuring the Legends of Sports. All programs are blended with relationship marketing to make an impact and influence the buying habits of consumers. For more information, visit www.sedirect.com.

About StartSampling

Based in Carol Stream, Illinois, StartSampling, Inc. is a marketing and promotions company that has established itself as the leading online sampling company by connecting marketers from innovative consumer-oriented companies such as Procter & Gamble, Quaker, Nestle, Unilever and many others to more than 1,500,000 consumers who want to "Try Something New!" StartSampling integrates its flexible business model with its Web site, www.startsampling.com, to help companies accurately target and reach active, engaged and vocal consumers.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com
(630) 868-2028


STARTSAMPLING PROMOTION WITH CHICAGO-AREA
LOEWS CINEPLEX BREAKS MOVIE ATTENDANCE RECORD
Most Successful Marketing Event Ever For New Country Club Hills Location


CAROL STREAM, IL, (September 4, 2001) - StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), the leading online marketing and promotions company, recently executed an online sampling event for the newly opened Loews Theater in Country Club Hills, Illinois, resulting in the biggest sneak preview promotion for the movie house since its opening in June 2001. The advanced screening, which took place on August 22, targeted StartSampling members who lived within 30 miles of the theater and gave them the opportunity to see the 7:30 p.m. showing of Miramax's "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" two days before the movie's national release. The event marked the first time that Loews Cineplex and a Hollywood studio used Internet marketing exclusively to promote an advanced screening. StartSampling surpassed the theater's existing attendance record by 22%, exceeding several promotions done with major Chicago-area radio stations and newspapers.

"Our business model is flexible by design in order to allow brand managers beyond the consumer-packaged goods world to connect with their key consumers," said Larry Burns, StartSampling President & CEO. "The results we've been able to deliver for entertainment and media-oriented clients demonstrate this forcefully, and are a direct result of our unique expertise in the area of understanding consumers and how to reach and communicate with them more effectively."

Said John McCauley, Vice President of Marketing, Loews Cineplex Entertainment, "While we've worked with other promotional partners, none have produced the combination of conversion and event-specific consumer feedback that StartSampling provides. This real-time research provides valuable insights into what theater-goers are looking for and will allow us to refine our marketing strategies to gain a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace."

Added Michael Ankener, Loews Director of Interactive Marketing. "The Country Club Hills event marks the fourth highly successful promotion we've conducted with StartSampling. Given the return on investment from our marketing dollars, StartSampling has become our primary Internet marketing partner for promotional events."

Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation is one of the largest theatre exhibition companies in terms of revenues and operating cash flow, with 2,489 screens in 282 locations as of May 31, 2001, primarily in major cities throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation operates theatres under the Loews and Cineplex Odeon names. In addition, the Company is a partner in Magic Johnson Theatres, Star Theatres, Yelmo Cineplex de Espaņa, De Laurentiis Cineplex d'Italia, and Megabox Cineplex of Korea.

Based in Carol Stream, Illinois, StartSampling, Inc. is a marketing and promotions company that has established itself as the leading online sampling company by connecting marketers from innovative consumer-oriented companies such as Procter & Gamble, Quaker, Nestle, Unilever, Golden Books and many others to more than 1,500,000 consumers who want to "Try Something New!" StartSampling integrates its flexible business model with its Web site, www.startsampling.com, to help companies accurately target and reach active, engaged and vocal consumers. The granting of "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe helps consumers feel comfortable in sharing information about their purchasing behaviors and offering honest, quality feedback after sampling products.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com
(630) 868-2028


STARTSAMPLING HELPS SHORT MOUNTAINS GET A READ ON
CHILDREN'S BOOK MARKET

Children's Publisher Uses Internet to Expand Marketing Efforts

CAROL STREAM, IL, (June 1, 2001) —Short Mountains, a division of Long Hill Entertainment and publisher of children's books and music, is working with Carol Stream, Illinois-based StartSampling, the leading online sampling to more efficiently reach consumers. From April 17-30, a 90-second customized audio download of "Kasey and the Dream Forest," was available on StartSampling's Web site at www.startsampling.com marking the first marketing program the two companies worked on together. In addition to the audio sample, a convenient link to Short Mountains website www.shortmountains.com was used to create a convenient way for consumers to learn about the publisher's entire library of products.

"StartSampling's membership base consists of almost 70% households with children which provides an efficient way for us to reach our primary audience," said Lou Montiel, Short Mountains, VP Marketing. "The feedback we received was invaluable in helping us better understand what our readers are looking for and we're expecting the same kind of results from our 'Outer Space Earl' book which is our latest title to be promoted by StartSampling."

A total of 38,000 downloads were sampled over the duration of the program. Over 20,000 StartSampling members provided feedback while just under 6,500 referred their friends to the sample. In all, more than 13,000 members clicked to visit Short Mountains website to either purchase products or to learn more about the company.

"Our members enjoy the audio samples because of the immediacy of being able to listen to it right away," said Larry Burns, StartSampling president & CEO. "From a business perspective, the success we've had in the entertainment world is a vivid demonstration of the flexibility of our business model and our ability to help all kinds of brand owners connect with consumers"

About StartSampling, Inc.

Based in Carol Stream, Illinois, StartSampling, Inc., is a marketing and promotions company that has established itself as the leading online sampling company by connecting marketers from innovative consumer-oriented companies such as Procter & Gamble, Quaker, Nestle, Unilever, Loews Cineplex, Golden Books, Family Circle and many others to more than 1,300,000 consumers who want to "Try Something New!" StartSampling integrates its flexible business model with its Web site, www.startsampling.com, to help companies accurately target and reach active, engaged and vocal consumers. The granting of "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe, helps consumers to be comfortable in sharing information about their purchasing behaviors and offering honest, quality feedback after sampling products. According to Nielsen//Net Ratings, StartSampling's Web site consistently delivers double-digit minutes in average time spent per week, per visitor. StartSampling, Inc. also provides sample management services for manufacturers and other site owners who wish to introduce or enhance their sampling programs by providing a full range of services insuring a brand's objectives are achieved with a minimum of effort.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com
(630) 868-2028


STARTSAMPLING HELPS BOOST WATER RECORDS' DANA MASE LATEST
SINGLE TO NUMBER 1 ON MP3 CHARTS

"Lost in the Snow" Release Supported by Online Sampling Program

CAROL STREAM, IL, (May 16, 2001) — Water Records' recording artist Dana Mase (www.danamase.com) recently hit number one on the MP3.com charts with her newest single "Lost in the Snow." The single was the most downloaded clip at MP3.com and remained in the top 20 for over two months. The track was sampled over 50,000 times in one week alone and also resulted in 4,000 new fans registering on Mase's mailing list. Water Records partnered with StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), an Internet-based marketing and promotions company and online sampling leader, to help market the song to StartSampling's membership base of over 1.3 million members.

"In addition to going number one, Dana's song 'Dandelions' is being featured on Fox Family's 'The Amati Girls' as her career has really started to take off. Her online fan base has grown to over 90,000 people and it's a direct result of our online initiatives," explained Barry Mase, president of Water Records. "Working with StartSampling a second time is indicative of our confidence in their ability to help us successfully expand our marketing programs."

The 90-second customized audio sample of "Lost in the Snow" ran on StartSampling's site from April 6 through 18. This significant activity on Water Records' site resulted in a 61% increase in MP3.com plays versus prior to the program. Other key performance criterion included consumer feedback on the song sampled in which over 20,800 consumers opted-in to answer quantitative and qualitative-based questions prepared by Water Records in conjunction with StartSampling's research department. Consumers were also encouraged to register for future mailings, and over 2,200 samplers opted-in to receive upcoming news

"The fact that Water Records is a repeat customer is fairly typical of our StartSampling partners," said Larry Burns, StartSampling president & CEO. "Many of our customers run 'test' assignments with us and come back to us with much larger programs, in some cases involving millions of samples."

About StartSampling, Inc.

Based in Carol Stream, Illinois, StartSampling, Inc., is a marketing and promotions company that has established itself as the leading online sampling company by connecting marketers from innovative consumer-oriented companies such as Procter & Gamble, Quaker, Nestle, Unilever, Loews Cineplex, Golden Books, Family Circle and many others to more than 1,300,000 consumers who want to "Try Something New!" StartSampling integrates its flexible business model with its Web site, www.startsampling.com, to help companies accurately target and reach active, engaged and vocal consumers. The granting of "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe, helps consumers to be comfortable in sharing information about their purchasing behaviors and offering honest, quality feedback after sampling products. According to Nielsen//Net Ratings, StartSampling's Web site consistently delivers double-digit minutes in average time spent per week, per visitor. StartSampling, Inc. also provides sample management services for manufacturers and other site owners who wish to introduce or enhance their sampling programs by providing a full range of services insuring a brand's objectives are achieved with a minimum of effort.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com
(630) 868-2028


STUDY SUGGESTS ONLINE PROMOTIONS INFLUENCE
BRAND LOYALTY AND PURCHASE BEHAVIOR

StartSampling, Inc. co-sponsors survey measuring consumer Internet usage and promotion participation

CAROL STREAM, IL, (February 6, 2001) — According to a recent survey measuring the effectiveness and popularity of online marketing tactics, the Internet provides an unprecedented vehicle for marketers to communicate promotional efforts to consumers. In fact, 62 percent of respondents report they access the Internet specifically to look for special offers or promotions.

"The Internet is attracting a new type of consumer who prefers the ease of use and speed of the Internet to find consumer promotions, including samples," explains Larry Burns, president and CEO of StartSampling, Inc. "Knowing that an estimated 53 percent of U.S. households have access to the Internet, and that Internet usage is increasing 2 percent each quarter, online marketing tactics are, and increasingly will be, a crucial marketing element."

As part of the survey, co-sponsored by StartSampling, Inc. and other leading companies, and conducted by Greenwich, CT-based NFO research for PROMO Magazine, the attitudes and habits of 1,000 online respondents were polled regarding the use of promotions by businesses to generate sales and traffic, increase a company image, build databases, etc. To qualify for the survey, respondents had to be at least 18 years of age and have participated in a promotion in the last six months.

Results indicated, 48 percent of online respondents said they have logged onto the Internet specifically to participate in a promotion and 46 percent said they spent time "promotion surfing" to find special offers, contests and sweepstakes.

Additionally, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of online respondents said they were very likely to purchase a product introduced in a promotion in which they participated, and 53 percent said their promotion participation had a positive impact on their view of their brand.

"It was rewarding to see this research confirm what we’ve known all along," said Burns. "Well executed and thoughtful Internet-driven promotions and sampling programs are a highly effective tool to drive brand sales and create passionate brand believers."

Online marketing campaigns are, and will continue to be, an important tool to help brand managers reach consumers. As mentioned in the December issue of PROMO Magazine, Kraft foods recently ran a massive and extremely successful on-pack and on-air call-in campaign thanks to consumer participation via the Internet. Nearly half of all the responses from the campaign were received through the Web.

"Internet promotions are easier and less expensive to enter and consumers don’t have to worry about forms, stamps or filling out three-by-five cards," explains Burns. "As the results reveal, there is no question online promotions draw traffic. That’s why marketers are finding greater success rates when online promotional tactics are incorporated into their traditional brand marketing campaigns."

Additional survey findings include:

  • Sixty-four percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "I would be willing to provide personal data if there were some compensation."
  • Almost half of respondents were involved in promotions on a weekly basis.
  • Fifty-six percent of respondents said they are members of an online coupon, sampling or sweepstakes service.
  • Overall, consumers are more interested in promotions that help them save money (such as free samples, coupons, buy-one-get-one deals) than they are in other kinds of offers.





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com
(630) 868-2028


STARTSAMPLING REACHES MILLION MEMBER MILESTONE
Site is More than Just Samples to Some Members

CAROL STREAM, IL, (November 30, 2000) — Launched in March 1999, StartSampling, Inc.’s Web site, www.startsampling.com, which links brand owners with consumers who want to TRY SOMETHING NEW!TM , reached the million member mark on November 17, 2000. Ironically, Lauren Main of Connecticut, the millionth member and winner of a 32" television set from StartSampling, learned of the news on her 32nd birthday.

Since its inception, StartSampling has awarded thousands of prizes as part of its popular Frequent Tryer MileTM program. The program allows members to earn points for a host of activities including visiting the Web site, providing sample feedback, new member referrals and other simple ways. Not only are StartSampling members winners but its growing roster of over 200 clients have come up winners as well as they are able to target members based on key psychographic, demographic and geographic measures.

"Since joining StartSampling, I’ve had the opportunity to not only receive samples, but also find about other interesting products in the ‘Spotlight on Something New’ section," said Main. "I’m looking forward to visiting the site often and participating in the surveys which helps me earn miles toward other prizes and providing feedback to companies to let them know about the kind of products and services that someone like me might be interested in."

"Reaching the million member mark is a significant milestone and provides our roster of over 200 client brands with the targeting capabilities needed to maximize their sampling efforts with us which are far more efficient compared to traditional sampling programs," said Larry Burns, StartSampling president & CEO. "Equally important from our perspective is our ability to add members at an acquisition cost substantially less than the industry average. This efficiency has allowed us to maximize our investments in infrastructure, which will ultimately benefit our clients and members on both a short and long-term basis."

Many members enjoy the site simply for the chance to try new products and have a voice with brand managers. Given the fact that StartSampling has distributed over 3.5 million samples, they’ve had plenty of chances to do just that.

"Our Web site gives them the chance to sample products they might not otherwise know about. Since member feedback is consistently over 60 percent, our site gives them the opportunity to be heard by brand owners," said Jeff Limp, vice president, consumer marketing. "As a company, we derive a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing we’re able to meet clients’ brand objectives while we foster a closer sense of community among our members."

About StartSampling, Inc.

StartSampling, Inc., the leading online sampling company connects marketers from innovative consumer-oriented companies such as Quaker, Nestle, Unilever, Loews Theatres, Golden Books and many others to more than 1,000,000 consumers who want to "Try Something New." Its Web site, www.startsampling.com, recognized by leading publications, including in October of this year, Family PC named it one of its "Top 100 Family Web Sites" lets companies accurately target and reach active, engaged and vocal consumers. The granting of "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe, helps consumers be comfortable in sharing information about their purchasing behaviors and offering honest, quality feedback after sampling products. Nielsen//NetRatings for the week ending November 9 ranked the site in the top 20 for both home and work visits per visitors per week with each group visiting on average over 15 minutes per week.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com


STARTSAMPLING NAMED ‘TOP 100 FAMILY WEB SITE’
BY FAMILY PC MAGAZINE
Recognition on Heels of Site entering Nielsen/NetRatings
‘Top Ten’ for Visits per Person

CAROL STREAM, IL, (October 18, 2000) — StartSampling, Inc.’s Web site, www.startsampling.com, was recognized by Family PC in its October issue as a top family site in their "Free Stuff" category. The Ziff-Davis publication’s team of editors and writers reviewed 36 categories in all ranging from "arts & literature" to "women" to determine which were the best family Web sites. Judging was based on ease of use, design and overall content.

"Being selected by Family PC as one of their top family web sites confirms yet again, that the StartSampling approach to Web design and positive consumer experiences is helping connect consumers with marketers in an environment that our loyal members find engaging and worthwhile," said Larry Burns, StartSampling president & CEO. "From a business perspective, clients know that their product samples and essential brand messages are featured and presented in the best possible light to a receptive audience."

In its review of the site, Family PC highlighted the fact that registration and receiving samples is totally free to members who can choose from a wide variety of samples including snacks, personal care products, appetizers, and other categories. It also mentioned StartSampling’s "Frequent Tryer Mile" program that allows members to redeem points in exchange for prizes including gift certificates, T-shirts, DVD players, televisions and more.

Also, in October, StartSampling’s Web site ranked number 9 in the Nielsen/NetRatings for the week ending October 1 in visits per person with 4.07. Time spent per person on the site was over 18 minutes; and for ten consecutive weeks the figure has been in double digits.

"The Nielsen numbers remain very encouraging and demonstrate that not only are we able to attract visitors but equally important to our customer objectives, consumers are engaged through interesting content," explained Burns. "The longer they stay the greater the opportunity for them to learn about our clients’ products and services resulting in a win-win for both consumers and marketers."

The Family PC recognition is the latest from a number of publishers. In June, StartSampling was designated as a "hot site" by USA Today. Earlier, Industry Standard ranked the Web site as the "number one most addictive e-commerce site" in 1999. Recently PC Data online named StartSampling as a top ten shopping Web site. These latest data trends continue to support StartSampling’s reputation as an extremely "sticky" site.

About StartSampling, Inc.

StartSampling, Inc., the leading online sampling company connects marketers from innovative consumer-oriented companies such as Procter & Gamble, Quaker, Nestle, Unilever, Loews Theatres and others to more than 950,000 consumers who want to "Try Something New." Through its Web site, www.startsampling.com, companies are able to accurately target and reach active, engaged and vocal consumers. The granting of "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe, helps consumers be comfortable in sharing information about their purchasing behaviors and offering honest, quality feedback after sampling products.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com


STARTSAMPLING STRENGTHENS COMMUNICATIONS TEAM
Ray Wisbrock Joins Leading Online Sampling Company
as VP, Corporate Communications

CAROL STREAM, IL, (September 21, 2000) — Effective immediately, Ray Wisbrock, 38, has joined StartSampling, Inc. as vice president, corporate communications reporting to Larry Burns, 45, StartSampling president & CEO. In this newly created position, Wisbrock will be responsible for management of public relations efforts including media and investor relations as wells as other related external communications initiatives. The hiring is the latest senior-level appointment to help accelerate the company’s growth across the growing online sampling and promotions industry.

"Our ability to effectively communicate with our roster of over 950,000 members has been a key component of StartSampling’s ability to create a community of passionate consumers," said Burns. "It’s equally important that we communicate effectively with the press and other external audiences about the effectiveness of our marketing approach and unique ability to help our customers convert samplers into buyers."

With fourteen years of corporate communications experience, Wisbrock has worked at some of the world’s leading marketing and media organizations. Prior to joining StartSampling, Wisbrock was public relations manager for Starcom Worldwide, a media company of the $18 billion Starcom MediaVest Group that he joined in March 1999 and where he oversaw all internal and external communications efforts. From 1993 to 1999, he was public relations manager for Information Resources, Inc. where he worked closely with business publications to establish IRI as the source of record for consumer-packaged goods-related issues. While at A.C. Nielsen from 1986 through 1993, he worked for both Nielsen Marketing Research and Nielsen Media Research in a number of corporate communication positions.

Wisbrock graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism-Advertising.

About StartSampling, Inc.

StartSampling, Inc., the leading online sampling company connects manufacturers to more than 950,000 consumers who want to "Try Something New." Through its Web site, www.startsampling.com, companies are able to accurately target and reach active, engaged and vocal consumers. The granting of "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe, helps consumers be comfortable in sharing information about their purchasing behaviors and offering honest, quality feedback after sampling products. Ranked the "Number One Most Addictive E-Commerce Site" in 1999 by Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data, StartSampling currently attracts an average of 3.71 visits per visitor each week* and more than 15 minutes per average visit.** Recently PC Data online named StartSampling as a top ten shopping Web site. These latest data trends continue to support StartSampling’s reputation as an extremely "sticky" site.
* Based on Nielsen Net Ratings data, week of 9.17.00
** Based on Web Trends report initiative



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

TOP WEB SITE STARTSAMPLING.COM APPOINTS CFO

CHICAGO (August 23, 2000) – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), the leading online sampling company, today announced the appointment of Seamus Heneghan as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

"Seamus brings both financial expertise and Internet experience to the StartSampling management team," said StartSampling President and CEO, Larry Burns. "as the scope of our financial management needs expand with our business moving along the path to profitability, this is yet another important benchmark that builds on StartSampling’s constant momentum."

As CFO, Heneghan, (31), will oversee StartSampling’s financial systems while developing the additional processes and policies necessary to efficiently support the company’s rapid expansion.

"I am excited to be joining a team that has built a strong business poised for exponential growth," Heneghan said. "I look forward to being a catalyst in our long-term success."

Heneghan has ten years experience in operations and financial reporting, including Securities Exchange Commission filing and banking relationships. During this time, he worked to establish corporations and partnerships in the United States and Canada with companies like Law.com, an Internet-portal.

Prior to working with Law.com, Heneghan held a variety of key positions at organizations such as Northwind Development, US Robotics and Alberto-Culver. Heneghan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration with majors in Finance and Accounting from Loyola Chicago.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects manufacturers to more than 850,000 consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its Web site, www.startsampling.com, companies accurately are able to target and reach active, vocal consumers. Granted "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe, consumers are willing to give quality feedback after sampling products. Ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data, StartSampling currently attracts an average of 3.85 visits per visitor each week* and more than 15 minutes per average visit.** Recently PC Data online named StartSampling as a top ten shopping website. These latest data trends continue to support StartSampling’s reputation as an extremely "sticky" site.

* Based on Nielsen Net Ratings data, week of 8.9.00
** Based on Web Trends report initiative



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Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

STARTSAMPLING PARTNERSHIP OFFERS SOMETHING NEW –
MUSIC COMPACT DISCS

HIT WEB SITE ADDS ENTERTAINMENT TO ITS
CONSUMER PACKAGED GOODS OFFERINGS

August 21, 2000 –StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com) the leading online sampling company, offers independent record label Water Records access to nearly one million consumers. Starting today, Dana Mase, whose music has been featured on the WB Network’s hit show, "Dawson’s Creek", will distribute her CD titled, "Through the Concrete and the Rocks," to StartSampling’s online community.
A secondary sampling event will begin immediately upon the full distribution of this CD. StartSampling members will have a chance to hear Dana Mase perform a song from her upcoming Fall release, "1,000,000 Miles," in an interactive music video CD. The CD launches a full screen music video and contains portions of an interview with Dana Mase.

"We selected StartSampling because of its unique ability to provide us with intelligent, pointed feedback from a community that thrives on trying new things – including music," said Barry Mase, president of Water Records. "StartSampling offers us access to an engaged audience that we would not normally be able to reach."

Independent artists like Dana Mase can demographically target members of StartSampling’s large, active community. By enabling these members to experience Dana’s music via the site, Water Records also can generate traffic to its own site and cultivate a database of fans.

"Our work with Dana Mase and Water Records demonstrates StartSampling's agility in customizing programs specifically to reach our members who are interested in new experiences," said CEO and President of StartSampling, Larry Burns. "Our expanding range of products, experiences and information allow our members to do what they want and ‘Try Something New.’"

More than 100,000 members visit StartSampling's Web site each day to receive samples ranging from snack to household items to beauty products, movie tickets and now music. StartSampling has created a unique forum that enables consumers to share their thoughts with each other and the providers of the experiences, such as consumer packaged goods manufacturers, artists and studios. Up to 70 percent of StartSampling members return to the site to provide feedback about the sampling experience that helps our providers understand how their products are received.

Along with feedback opportunities, StartSampling offers consumers a variety of ways to ‘Try Something New’ with contests, promotions and incentives. One example is the Frequent Tryer Miles‘ incentive program that rewards member participation with mileage points to try and buy new items.

StartSampling was recently named one of the fastest growing Web sites by Nielsen NetRatings as well as a Top Shopping Site by PC Data Online Reports.* In June, StartSampling also was recognized as a USA Today "Hot Site," and has been growing by more than 7,000 new members each day. This latest trend supports StartSampling as an extremely "sticky" site -- members visit the site more than three times per week and stay more than 15 minutes per visit.**

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects manufacturers to more than 750,000 consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its Web site, www.startsampling.com, companies accurately are able to target and reach active, vocal consumers. Granted "seals of approval" by Good Housekeeping and TRUSTe, consumers are willing to give quality feedback after sampling products. Ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data, StartSampling currently attracts an average of 3.3 visits per visitor each week*** and more than 15 minutes per average visit. This latest data trend continues to support StartSampling’s reputation as an extremely "sticky" site.

About Water Records

Water Records, Dana Mase’s independent artist-owned music label, was founded in 1995 in Tallman, NY. Dana Mase has been generating more than one million hits per month to her Web site, www.danamase.com, while also cultivating a fan base that has been growing by more than 1000 people per day. With the advent of her Internet marketing campaign, Dana’s fan base has grown to more than 30,000 people.

* Based on the PC Data Online Report
** Based on the Nielsen NetRatings
*** Based on Media Metrix data, reported in the Industry Standard
Based on Web Trends report initiative




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Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

STARTSAMPLING TEAMS-UP WITH KANA TO STRENGTHEN
ONE-TO-ONE CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS
FOCUS REMAINS CUSTOMER SERVICE OPTIMIZATION WHILE ATTRACTING
AND RETAINING MEMBERS

CHICAGO– August 9, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com) the leading online sampling company, selected Kana Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:KANA), a leading provider of enterprise relationship management solutions, to provide complete enterprise relationship management (eRM) solutions for its Web site.

Thousands of new members visit StartSampling’s Web site each day to receive product samples ranging from snacks to household items to beauty products. StartSampling has created a forum that enables consumers to share their thoughts about a product with each other and with the product’s manufacturer. Along with feedback opportunities, StartSampling offers their consumers a variety of ways to "Try Something New" on their Web site with contests, promotions and incentives. One example is the Frequent Tryer Miles‘ incentive program that rewards member participation with mileage points to try and buy new items.

"The foundation of the StartSampling community is valuable interaction between our members and consumer product manufacturers – our customers," said StartSampling Inc.’s CEO and President, Larry Burns. "Kana’s solid eRM solution enables us to provide a superior level of service to our members and customers which helps to sets us apart from our competition.

Kana’s eRM Platform uses a highly scalable Web-architected design that is equipped to address the needs of today’s growing businesses. StartSampling recognized that the Kana Platform offers a significant e-business advantage over systems that have been "retrofitted" from already-existing platforms. The new platform will enable StartSampling to provide members with an increased one-to-one relationship backed with the highest quality customer service.

"This investment helps us manage our online relationship with our customer base in the most classic ways – open and available information and quick, nimble response to inquiries," adds Burns. "Customers and members will benefit from online self-service management, timely and accurate response rates, online tracking of questions to accommodate their busy schedules and a simple User-friendly interface. All of which makes it easy for members and customers to communicate their needs."

"The interaction between members and manufacturers was at the very foundation of StartSampling’s business," said David Fowler, vice president of Marketing at Kana. "It was important for us to deliver a way to preserve and support great customer interaction in a cost-effective manner. Kana’s integrated e-business solution is designed to deliver fast response time, interact across all communication channels and offers services that truly leverage Internet strengths. Those two advantages alone will provide considerable support for StartSampling’s strategic goals."

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects consumer packaged goods manufacturers to more than three quarters of a million consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its Web site, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to accurately target their reach to active and vocal consumers willing to give quality feedback about sampled products. Granted "seals of approval" by TRUSTe and Good Housekeeping, StartSampling has enjoyed consistently high marks on the "addictive" nature of its site starting with being ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data, and continuing with the latest Nielsen Net Ratings and PC Data Online information.

About Kana Communications Inc.
Kana Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: KANA), a leading provider of web-architected enterprise relationship management solutions, delivers a broad range of world-class, integrated e-business and interaction applications with a modular and scalable platform for both Internet and Global 2000 companies. Kana solutions deliver personal portals that offer customers, partners and the enterprise a global view of their communications and relationships. This global view includes managing the full set of communications channels such as e-mail, Web, chat, instant message, VOIP, phone and person-to-person, as well as e-business and communications applications to integrate the marketing, sales and service functions. This full-service suite enables e-businesses to compete and succeed in today's customer-driven economy. For more information about the solutions found in more than 700 companies, including 8 of the 10 most trafficked Web sites, please visit Kana at http://www.kana.com.





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Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

STARTSAMPLING NAMED AS A TOP WEBSITE
AMERICANS FLOCK TO THE INTERNET’S TOP SAMPLING SITE

CHICAGO — August 7, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com) the leading online sampling company, catapulted into the top ten shopping Web sites with nearly 3 million unique users, according to PC Data Online for the week ending July 29.*

"As one of the nation’s top Web sites, StartSampling is earning a reputation as the place to be for variety-seekers and trend-setters," said President and CEO of StartSampling, Larry Burns. "Our site is a magnet for the curious consumers who want to try something new. Plus, we encourage our members to interact within our online community and share their opinions on product samples with manufactures and peers."

The new PC Data Online Report reinforces the growth and popularity of StartSampling. Nielsen NetRatings named StartSampling the sixth fastest-growing web site in July,** while USA Today recognized StartSampling as a "Hot Site" in June.

With more than 750,000 members, an average of 3.3 visits/visitor/week *** and more than 15 minutes per average visit this latest data trend continues to support StartSampling’s reputation as an extremely "sticky" site.

At StartSampling, over 7,000 American consumers sign up as new members every day, an average of more than 5 a minute, to join a growing group of "smart samplers," who choose product samples ranging from snacks and household items to beauty products to be delivered to their door -- at no cost to the member. Once members receive their sample, they are invited to come back to the site to give feedback and share their thoughts about a product with each other and the product manufacturer. On average, 50 to 70 percent of samplers provide their feedback on a regular basis. Members also have the opportunity to participate in the interactive community with contests, promotions and sample surveys.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects consumer packaged goods manufacturers to more than three quarters of a million consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its Web site, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to accurately target their reach to active and vocal consumers willing to give quality feedback about sampled products. Granted "seals of approval" by TRUSTe and Good Housekeeping, StartSampling has enjoyed consistently high marks on the "addictive" nature of it’s site starting with being ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data, and continuing with the latest Nielsen Net Ratings and PC Data Online information.

* Based on a sample of more than 120,000 U.S. home Internet users, balanced to represent the US home Internet population for the week ending July 29, 2000
** Based on the Nielsen NetRatings, June 200
*** Based on Media Metrix data, reported in the Industry Standard
Based on Web Trends report initiative




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Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

STARTSAMPLING NAMED AS ONE OF THE FASTEST GROWING WEBSITES
BY NIELSEN NETRATINGS
MORE THAN 450,000 VISITORS* STARTED SAMPLING
AT AMERICA’S TOP SAMPLING WEBSITE

CHICAGO — July 10, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com) the leading online sampling company, is the sixth fastest growing web site based on Nielsen NetRatings and enjoyed a 200 percent increase in unique visitors during May*. In June, StartSampling was named a USA Today "Hot Site".

This latest trend supports StartSampling as an extremely "sticky" site -- members visit an average of 8.8 times a month** and stay more than 18 minutes per visit. ***

"One visit to our site and curious consumers see why it’s so addicting to try something new everyday," said President and CEO of StartSampling, Larry Burns. "StartSampling gives these variety-seekers and trend-watchers the opportunity to interact with our online community by sharing thoughts and opinions on product samples with manufactures and peers. We offer a unique experience that consumers love to tell their friends about."

At StartSampling, nearly 10,000 American consumers sign up as new members every day, an average of more than 6 a minute, to join a growing group of "smart samplers," who choose product samples ranging from snacks and household items to beauty products to be delivered to their door -- at no cost. Once they receive their sample, StartSampling’s members are invited to come back to the site to give their feedback and share their thoughts about a product with each other and the product manufacturer. On average 50 to 70 percent of samplers provide their feedback on a regular basis. Members also have the opportunity to participate in the interactive community with contests, promotions and sample surveys.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects consumer packaged goods manufacturers to more than half a million consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its Web site, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to accurately target their reach to active and vocal consumers willing to give quality feedback about sampled products. Granted "seals of approval" by TRUSTe and Good Housekeeping, StartSampling was ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data.

* Based on the Nielsen NetRatings for April and May
** Based on Media Metrix data, reported in the Industry Standard
*** Based on Web Trends report initiative




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Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

STARTSAMPLING SWEEPSTAKES WINNER TO START TRAVELING
WHETHER IT’S JET SKIING OR PARASAILING, WINNER WILL "TRY SOMETHING NEW!"

FRESNO, CA – June 29, 2000 – When Desiree Hartman of Fresno visited StartSampling’s online community, she never thought she would find herself surrounded by dolphins.

StartSampling, Inc., the leading online sampling company, recently selected Desiree as the winner of the "Sampler Send-Off Sweepstakes," Desiree and her three guests will have a one-week stay at any Club Med site in the world, courtesy of StartSampling.

Desiree, who joined StartSampling for the opportunity to Try Something New, has a choice to make. "I’m looking at Club Med locations in the Bahamas or Mexico that offer a variety of water activities I’ve never tried before, but the decision process isn’t as simple as getting new samples" Desiree said. "StartSampling makes it easy to try new products and fun to learn more about them."

At StartSampling, seven American consumers sign up as new members every minute. These smart samplers choose product samples ranging from snacks and household items to beauty products to be delivered to their door -- at no cost. Once they receive their sample, StartSampling’s vocal members come back to the site to give their feedback and share their thoughts about a product with each other and the product manufacturer. Up to 70% of members provide feedback from their sampling experience.

Recently named a USA Today "Hot Site," StartSampling is growing by more than 10,000 new members each day. This latest trend supports StartSampling as an extremely "sticky" site -- members visit the site an average of 3.3 times per week* and stay more than 18 minutes per visit. **

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects consumer packaged goods manufacturers to more than 500,000 consumers who want to Try Something New. Through its website, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to accurately target their reach to active and vocal consumers willing to give quality feedback about sampled products. Granted "seals of approval" by TRUSTe and Good Housekeeping, StartSampling was ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data.

* Data from NetRatings, Inc.
** Based on Web Trends report




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Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

CREAMY OVER CRUNCHY, LIQUID OVER BAR
MORE THAN 78,000 MEMBERS SPEAK THEIR MINDS IN STARTSAMPLING’S FIRST WEEKLY ONLINE POLL

Chicago, IL – June 15, 2000 – When it comes to peanut butter, people like it better creamy. That’s what StartSampling, Inc., the leading online sampling company discovered when almost 20% of its nearly half million membership responded to a recent SampleSurvey in just 4 days. StartSampling’s community is made up of variety seekers and trend-watchers who are uniquely qualified to report the current trends and the next fads of America’s families.

In other findings, America’s samplers said:

  • 77.2% wash their hands with liquid soap, while only 22.8% use bar soap.
  • When it comes to music, 29% listen to good ol’ rock and roll, while 25.2% prefer the Britney Spears and N’Sync bubble-gum pop tunes; Country came in third at 20.9%.
  • 74.8% drive American cars; Japanese cars are next most popular at 23.4%.
  • Scrambled eggs are most popular – that’s how 37.7% of StartSampling’s samplers like them; only 3.2% like their eggs poached.
  • Games are the favorite computer software receiving a nod from 75.4% of the samplers; finance programs are the least popular at 20.5%.
  • 17.9% like to read romance stories; 9.1% like to read self-improvement books.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects consumer packaged foods manufacturers to more than 400,00 consumers who want to "Try Something New." Through its website, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to accurately target their reach to active and vocal consumers willing to give quality feedback about samples products. Granted "seals of approval" by TRUSTe and Good Housekeeping, StartSampling was ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data.




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Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com


STARTSAMPLING NAMED USA TODAY’S "HOT SITE"
EVERY MINUTE, SEVEN NEW MEMBERS "STARTSAMPLING" PRODUCTS
AND LET MANUFACTURERS KNOW WHAT THEY THINK

CHICAGO — June 15, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), the leading online sampling company, was named a USA Today "Hot Site" this week. Since this designation, nearly 10,000 new members have signed up each day to "Try Something New" and be part of the StartSampling community, breaking the company’s previous daily membership records.

This latest trend supports StartSampling as an extremely "sticky" site -- members visit an average of 8.8 times a month* and stay more than 18 minutes per visit. **

"Keeping up with new products is a challenging – and addictive – sport for our members, who are curious consumers," says President and CEO of StartSampling, Larry Burns. "StartSampling gives these variety-seekers and trend-watchers the opportunity to stay in the game and try something new everyday."

At StartSampling, seven American consumers sign up as new members every minute to join a growing group of "smart samplers," who choose product samples ranging from snacks and household items to beauty products to be delivered to their door -- at no cost. Once they receive their sample, StartSampling’s vocal members come back to the site to give their feedback and share their thoughts about a product with each other and the product manufacturer. More than 70% on average provide this feedback on a regular basis.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., the leading product sampling company, connects consumer packaged goods manufacturers to more than 400,000 consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its website, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to accurately target their reach to active and vocal consumers willing to give quality feedback about sampled products. Granted "seals of approval" by TRUSTe and Good Housekeeping, StartSampling was ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999 by the Industry Standard, based on Media Metrix data.

* Based on Media Metrix data, reported in the Industry Standard
** Based on Web Trends report initiative




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Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com


STARTSAMPLING“ REVOLUTIONIZES PRODUCT SAMPLING
EFFECTIVELY CUTS COST, TARGETS CONSUMERS AND CAPTURES FEEDBACK

CHICAGO — May 3, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), the leading online product sampling company, is transforming traditional sampling by offering consumer packaged goods manufacturers a marketing tool that delivers precision demographic targeting combined with a direct feedback loop. The results are higher conversion rates, the elimination of product waste and a lower consumer acquisition cost.

"Through our website, StartSampling has transformed the time-honored tradition of product sampling by creating a seamless marketing loop from targeting to trial to feedback to purchase," said President and CEO of StartSampling, Inc., Larry Burns. "We can offer our customers an unparalleled branding opportunity with demographically desirable consumers that is impossible to replicate in a traditional sampling environment. Our consumer members are active, vocal, early adopters who want to try something new."

StartSampling employs an opt-in model, allowing consumers to choose the product they want to sample. Research has shown that consumers willing to request product samples online are more likely to try them [Source: Promo Magazine Source Book, 2000]. StartSampling’s in-house fulfillment mails an individually packaged product sample directly to the consumer. This creates a one-to-one, uncluttered, branded moment between the consumer and the brand. Consumers are then encouraged to visit the site to give their feedback about the product. Currently, the consumer feedback rate is greater than 70 percent exceeding most other traditional methods of capturing consumer feedback. The direct link with the consumer creates a valuable mechanism for manufacturers to gauge consumer opinion and purchase intent.

"The specific targetability of StartSampling forum is ideal for our brand communication. It tells us who is using our products and increases the chance to turn trial into a purchase," said Amy Baker, CEO of Nature's Cure, a skincare product company in Oakland, Ca., which began its partnership with StartSampling in March 1999. "The feedback loop enables us to learn what our customers want, so we can be more efficient serving them to build the brand franchise."

Once a sampling program has been launched, StartSampling partners can access online, real-time reports, which include participant demographic profiles and consumer feedback.

Currently, StartSampling serves more than 6.2 million page views per month helping build its partners’ brands. The StartSampling website has been named the Most Addictive E-Commerce Site* by the Industry Standard using data from Media Metrix, the worldwide leader in Internet and Digital Media measurement.

Recognizing StartSampling’s dedication to consumer privacy and integrity, TRUSTe“ and Good Housekeeping“ granted their seals of approval, which appear on StartSampling’s home page.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc, is the leading product sampling company that links consumer packaged goods manufacturers to consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its website, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to cost-effectively and directly reach demographically desirable audiences and receive consumer feedback on their products. Consumers meanwhile are rewarded with "Frequent Tryer Miles" and the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of product samples. StartSampling’s investors include Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, SOFTBANK Technology Ventures, The Oracle Venture Fund and others.

*Based on average number of days sites were visited in October 1999.



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AUCTION-LIKE SITE HAS USERS GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE
EVERY MINUTE, FIVE NEW MEMBERS "STARTSAMPLING"

CHICAGO — May 31, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), the leading online sampling company, attracts more than 7,000 new members to its site daily by offering access to the latest product samples and product manufacturers - - at no cost.

"Keeping up with the vast number of products on grocery store shelves is a challenging – and addictive – sport for curious consumers," says President and CEO of StartSampling, Larry Burns. "Our members are variety-seekers and trend-watchers. StartSampling gives them the opportunity to stay in the game and try something new everyday."

Consumers flock to the site daily to choose product samples ranging from snacks and household items to beauty products. Ranked the #1 Most Addictive E-Commerce Site in 1999*, StartSampling members frequent the site more than eight times per month, generating a frequency rate that is 57% higher than popular auction sites such as eBay.com, according to the survey.*

StartSampling offers consumers a variety of products and also many ways to get them. The Frequent Tryer Miles™ incentive program rewards member participation with mileage points to try and buy new items. In less than two months, regular visitors can acquire 2,500 miles, entitling them to prizes such as a VHS movie or music CD of their choice. Those wanting higher-ticket items can sample their way to computer software, DVD players or even a 32-inch color television.

While the opportunity to try a new product lures new users to the site, it’s the consumer experience that keeps them coming back. StartSampling has created a forum that allows consumers to share their thoughts about a product with each other and with a captive audience – the product’s manufacturer.

"We’ve taken the Internet concept of opinion-sharing among peers to a new level," said Burns. "Rather than shouting into the dark, we give consumers the opportunity to shed light on a product with feedback going directly to the manufacturer." Consumers like the sound of that. Usually, more than 70% of members provide feedback from their sampling experience, with product-specific feedback rates sometimes as high as 90%.

StartSampling enhances the community feel of the site by providing contests and promotions that relate to new consumer items. One such contest, called the SampleScramble, invites members to recall their new product knowledge by unscrambling word jumbles and rewards winners with additional products or Frequent Tryer Miles.

StartSampling’s members can feel comfortable about voicing their opinions and providing their addresses to receive samples, without fear of a barrage of other solicitations. "We ensure total member privacy. This is their arena to communicate with brands," Burns says. "Only their feedback is given to product manufacturers. We do not share personal data with any outside parties."

Several sources have certified the site, recognizing StartSampling as a trustworthy environment for consumers. TRUSTe and Good Housekeeping have granted "seals of approval" which appear on StartSampling’s home page to ensure members that the highest levels of safety and privacy are maintained.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc., is the leading product sampling company that connects consumer packaged goods manufacturers to consumers who want to ‘Try Something New.’ Through its website, www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to cost-effectively and directly reach demographically desirable audiences and receive consumer feedback on their products. Consumers meanwhile are rewarded with "Frequent Tryer Miles" and the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of product samples. StartSampling’s investors include SOFTBANK Technology Ventures, Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, The Oracle Venture Fund and others.

* As listed by The Standard, based on frequency data from Media Metrix December 1999 survey. Ranked by average number of days sites were visited per month from January though October 1999. Media Metrix is the worldwide leader in Internet and Digital Media measurement.




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STARTSAMPLING LEASES 10,000 SQUARE FEET OF OFFICE
AND WAREHOUSE SPACE IN CAROL STREAM

CHICAGO—April 27, 2000 - StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), has leased nearly 10,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Carol Stream. The online product sampling company signed a three-year, triple-net lease with Carol Stream Realty Corporation to move to 130 East St. Charles Street.

StartSampling’s new home is close in proximity to the Carol Stream Processing and Distribution Center that will accommodate StartSampling’s bulk distribution needs. In addition, the new space, 45 percent office space and 55 percent warehouse room, affords the company the luxury of having an office connected to its own warehouse where they will oversee fulfillment directly.

"This is a critical step towards taking this company to the next level -- helping to increase efficiency and deliver rapid results to corporate clientele," said Larry Burns, President and CEO of StartSampling. "Our next step is to branch out by taking our marketing and business development divisions to an office in the heart of Chicago’s loop sometime during the next few months."

StartSampling will call Carol Stream its physical home, as the company continues to build momentum in its virtual space online. Recently, the online site was voted by Media Matrix as the #1 most addictive e-commerce site on the Internet.

Sentinel Real Estate Corporation of Oaklawn, IL, also helped facilitate the deal.

About StartSampling
StartSampling, Inc, is a dynamic, interactive online product sample distribution company that provides consumers who want to "Try Something New" access to products and goods in an auction-like setting. Through its website at www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to cost-effectively and directly reach demographically desirable audiences and receive consumer feedback on their products. Consumers meanwhile are rewarded with "Frequent Tryer" miles and the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of product samples. StartSampling’s investors include Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, SOFTBANK Technology Ventures, The Oracle Venture Fund and others.




STARTSAMPLING NAMES EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT TEAM
Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

CHICAGO, March 29, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com) today announced the members of its executive management team, whose combined experienced in the consumer packaged goods industry exceeds 60 years.

Larry Burns, 45, has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of StartSampling, Inc. Before joining StartSampling, Burns was an executive vice president of product management at Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), a publicly traded Chicago-based information services firm, where he worked for five years. While at IRI, Burns ran the InfoScan™ brand, the industry’s premier market share tracking product. Burns, who has more than 20 years experience in consumer packaged goods, previously served in various marketing capacities for Heinz USA, Cadbury Beverages, Pepperidge Farm and General Foods.

Thomas Falduto, the founder of StartSampling and its Chief Web Officer, previously worked for IRI, most recently as a director, where he launched and marketed the Shared Custom Databases, one of IRI’s tracking database offerings. Falduto, who spent eight years at IRI, also managed the launch of IRI’s ReviewNet, an Internet-based delivery option of syndicated information. Falduto, 30, has a B.S. degree in marketing from Benedictine University.

Michael Weiss has been named Executive Vice President of Corporate Development for StartSampling. Weiss, 33, previously was a senior manager in the CPG strategic consulting practice at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Prior to that position, he served as national marketing manager for a consumer electronics start-up company. Weiss has an M.B.A. from Northwestern’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a B.A. from Brown University.

Irv Kagan has been named Vice President, Business Development of StartSampling. Kagan had been a managing director at Ryan Partnership, with responsibility for the Kraft Foods account. He previously worked at Foote, Cone & Belding, where he managed the Nabisco, SmithKline Beecham and Nestle Frozen Food Company accounts, and Frankel & Co. Kagan also was a brand management professional for Pillsbury on the Van de Kamp’s Fish and Downyflake Waffles businesses as well as PepsiCo-KFC, where he led the task force that developed and tested Popcorn Chicken. Kagan, 35, has an MBA from Northwestern’s J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a BS in Business from Indiana University.

Jeffrey Limp has been named Vice President, Consumer Marketing at StartSampling. Previously, Limp was vice president, InfoScan Product Management, at IRI, where he led the expansion of syndicated UPC scanner-based business solutions to the consumer packaged goods industry. Limp, 39, also served as Director, Japanese Operations US, providing information support to Japanese consumer product goods companies. Limp has an MBA from Lewis University Graduate School of Management and a BA from North Central College.

"We are excited to be launching with a team that brings solid experience and insider understanding of our initial customer base – the vast consumer packaged goods market," StartSampling, President and CEO, Larry Burns said. "Coupled with SmartSample technology, we can anticipate customer issues and provide alternative marketing tactics in ‘real time’ – the new speed of business."

StartSampling, Inc. is a dynamic, interactive online product sample distribution company that provides products and goods in an auction-like setting to consumers who want to "Try Something New". Using SmartSample technology through its website at www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies can cost-effectively and directly reach demographically desirable audiences and receive consumer feedback on their products. Consumers, meanwhile, are rewarded with "Frequent Tryer" miles and the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of product samples. StartSampling’s investors include Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, SOFTBANK Technology Ventures, The Oracle Venture Fund and others.




STARTSAMPLING CLOSES ON $10.5 MILLION IN FIRST ROUND
OF VENTURE FINANCING
Contact:
Ray Wisbrock
rwisbrock@startsampling.com

Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, SOFTBANK Venture Capital, Oracle“ Venture Fund
Leading Online Product Sampling Company


CHICAGO, IL - March 14, 2000 – StartSampling, Inc. (www.startsampling.com), the leading online product sampling company, today announced it has completed its first round of venture financing, raising over $10.5 million. Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, L.P., a venture fund sponsored by the principals of Texas Pacific Group, led the round, followed by SOFTBANK Venture Capital, The Oracle Venture Fund and prominent personal investors. SOFTBANK Venture Capital led StartSampling’s angel round of financing in September 1999.

"Our investors recognize that StartSampling is a cost-effective way for our customers -- consumer package goods manufacturers -- to reach consumers and encourage them to try product samples," StartSampling, Inc, President and CEO Larry Burns said. "The tremendous interest from investment community leaders, such as SOFTBANK Venture Capital, Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, Oracle Corp., as well as the personal investment of David Roux (Silver Lake Partners) confirms our confidence in the StartSampling model. This funding gives us the market expansion and development resources necessary to ensure we deliver to our customers the highest possible return from their product sampling program investments."

StartSampling will use the venture funding to drive marketing and business development as well as support site enhancements of features and services. StartSampling.com is a dynamic, interactive site, linking consumer packaged goods manufacturers to targeted, demographically desirable consumers. In an auction-like atmosphere, consumers select product samples that are mailed to them within 48 hours. Later, they return to the site to provide direct feedback about the products they are sampling, while earning "Frequent Tryer" miles for rewards and prizes.

"Product sampling alone in the United States is a market that exceeds $1 billion and StartSampling is dynamically positioned to own and grow the sampling space online," said Gary Rieschel, executive managing director of SOFTBANK Technology Ventures. "StartSampling’s business strategy combines their established ‘business-to-consumer’ model with a ‘business-to-business’ play. Piloted by its experienced management team, we are confident StartSampling will dominate the online product sampling category and is poised to expand into the far larger overall consumer promotions market."

With this new funding in place, StartSampling will continue building its diverse consumer base and quality feedback mechanisms. StartSampling receives more than 30,000 unique visitors per day and was named in The Standard’s most recent ranking as the "Most Addictive" e-commerce site on the web (December 1999).

StartSampling, Inc., is a dynamic, interactive online product sample distribution company that provides consumers who want to "Try Something New" access to products and goods in an auction-like setting. Through its website at www.startsampling.com, consumer product manufacturing companies are able to cost-effectively and directly reach demographically desirable audiences and receive consumer feedback on their products. Consumers meanwhile are rewarded with "Frequent Tryer Miles" and the opportunity to experiment with a wide variety of product samples. StartSampling’s investors include Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, SOFTBANK Technology Ventures, The Oracle Venture Fund and others.


About Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, LP
Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners, LP is a venture fund sponsored by the principals of Texas Pacific Group, a private equity investment firm founded by David Bonderman, James G. Coulter and William S. Price, III in 1993. Texas Pacific Group and its affiliated partnerships have aggregate committed capital of more than $7.0 billion. Tarrant Venture Partners—the predecessor to Tarrant-ACON Venture Partners—has completed over 20 investments in technology and telecommunications.

About the Oracle Venture Fund
Launched in January 1999, the Oracle Venture Fund is a $500 million fund created to promote innovation by companies developing products and services based on Oracle technologies. Only Oracle provides a complete development and deployment platform for Internet computing that can scale to meet the demands of the industry’s rapidly growing on-line businesses. Companies funded by the Oracle Venture Fund can benefit from Oracle’s worldwide marketing and branding, as well as the market access to Oracle’s technology, developers, technical support and early releases of new software. For more information on the Oracle Venture fund go to http://www.oracle.com/corporate/venturefund/.

SOFTBANK Venture Capital
SOFTBANK Venture Capital (SOFTBANK VC) manages venture capital funds focused primarily on early-stage Internet companies. SOFTBANK VC's technology fund directors are all experienced technology leaders with prior operating experience as founders of early-stage companies, senior managers of major technology corporations, and leaders in investment banking. SOFTBANK VC's past and current portfolios include public Internet companies such as Critical Path, E-LOAN, GeoCities, Interliant, MessageMedia, Net2Phone, and TheStreet.com.

For more information, visit www.sbvc.com.

 
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