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LifeMinders rises on &#039buy&#039 rating

LifeMinders.com Inc. (Nasdaq: LFMN) was up 8 percent Friday, fighting the day's downward trend on bullish coverage from Robertson Stephens, which praised the direct marketing firm's recent spate of good news.

Shares were up 3 3/16 to 44 1/2 after Robertson Stephens said on Friday it started coverage of the firm with a "buy" rating. The company made a strong debut with its November IPO

Robertson Stephens was an underwriter for the company's secondary stock offering on February 11, which netted it more than $86 million in new funding to back its rapid expansion in the Internet direct marketing field.

LifeMinders.com, which is a "permission marketing" company, allows members to receive free personalized messages. Since it uses an "opt in" process, whereby members complete personal questionnaires and give the company permission to send them personalized electronic mail messages, LifeMinders has avoided the recent privacy controversy that has hurt DoubleClick (Nasdaq: DCLK).

LifeMinders competes with a host of other recently public e-mail marketers such as Digital Impact (Nasdaq: DIGI), NetCreations (Nasdaq: NTCR), and Exactis.com (Nasdaq: XACT).

LifeMinders announced Thursday that it signed advertising agreements totaling $3.2 million with FreeShop.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: FSHP) and NextCard (Nasdaq: NXCD), allowing both companies to distribute offers in e-mail messages across all 16 LifeMinders.com lifestyle categories.

The company also inked a sponsorship deal with Healtheon/WebMD Corp. (Nasdaq: HLTH), under which the Internet healthcare company will sponsor LifeMinders.com's health category.

Senior internet analyst Lowell Singer said he was initiating coverage with revenue estimates of $41.1 million for 2000 and $63.4 million in 2001. He said in his view, these estimates will prove to be conservative.

LifeMinders "does a fabulous job of integrating opt-in information from consumers with offline data to create highly targeted and personalized emails that are content-rich and relevant," Singer said. LifeMinders has the opportunity to leverage its most valuable asset, its rich database, into an array of products and services, Singer added.

The company's recent announcement that it plans to use its infrastructure and technology to offer a private label outsourced product also led Singer to predict strong growth in 2000."