December 3, 2010

Selling a Line of Business

Selling a Line of Business It’s been a couple of years since Return Path decided to focus on our deliverability business by divesting and spinning out our other legacy businesses. That link tells some of the story, and the rest is that subsequently, Authentic Response divested part of the Postmaster Direct business to Q Interactive.  Those three transactions, plus a number of experiences over the years on the buy side of similar transactions (Bonded Sender, Habeas, NetCreations), plus my learnings from talking to a number of other CEOs who have done similar things over the years, form the basis of this post.  The Authentic Response spin-out was also partially chronicled by Inc. Magazine in this article earlier this year. It’s an important topic — as entrepreneurs build businesses, they frequently end up creating new revenue opportunities and go off on productive tangents.  Those new lines of business might or might not take off; but sometimes they can take off and still, down the road, end up being non-core to the overall mission of the company and therefore candidates for divestiture.  Even if they are good businesses, the overall enterprise might benefit from the focus or cash provided by a sale.  […]


April 1, 2009

Senders No More

Senders No More February marked the official end of Return Path being in the email sending business, even a little bit. Of course we still have corporate email servers, and we still have basic retention email marketing programs for our customers and prospects (with explicit permission of course!), but after a 9 1/2 year run, we no longer have direct consumer email-based relationships. As we announced last fall, we recently divested all of our businesses other than our deliverability and whitelisting business — Postmaster Direct (list rental), Authentic Response/MyView.com (surveys), and ECOA (change of address). Those were great businesses, but […]


July 26, 2008

Why Do People Behave Like Jackasses Online?

Why Do People Behave Like Jackasses Online? I won’t disclose the name of the person who did this, but here’s the chain of events: Person registers for our Postmaster Direct service to receive targeted offers via email.  This is a closed-loop, double opt-in registration process (so the person had to register and then click on a confirmation email) Person receives a handful of relevant, targeted offers from us Person finds my name on our corporate web site and messages my wife on Facebook to tell her that her husband is a dirty spammer who needs to learn a lesson, and […]


January 4, 2007

Book (Not So) Short: Raise Your Hand If You’re Sure

Book (Not So) Short:  Raise Your Hand If You’re Sure I couldn’t get the catchy jingle from the 80’s commercial for Sure deodorant (you remember, the one with the Statue of Liberty at the end of it – thanks, YouTube) out of my head while I was reading the relatively new book, Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End.  Written by HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kantor, Confidence is one of the few business books I’ve read that’s both long and worth reading in full. The book has scores of examples of both winning and losing streaks, from […]


August 13, 2006

It’s a Sad Day When the Lawyers Take Over

It’s a Sad Day When the Lawyers Take Over With all due respect to lawyers, of course, Google’s recent decision to start making a legal fuss when people in the media use the word “Google” as a verb is NUTS.  Someone, get Marketing on Line 1 — and make it snappy.  Steve Rubel wrote about it, as did Jeff Jarvis, and the source material is here. For the record, anyone who wants to use any of the following words or phrases as a verb, noun, or any other part of speech, may do so at any time:  Return Path, Sender […]