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VerticalOne to bring services together through email

The company plans to begin offering an email version of its account aggregation and transaction services in its latest move to expand its reach beyond the Web.

VerticalOne said it will begin offering an email version of its account aggregation and transaction services in its latest move to expand its reach beyond the Web.

The company said the service will be available to members of LifeMinders.com, an email newsletter service that claims 16 million registered subscribers, according to a statement.

The deal gives VerticalOne a way to market its service, which allows people to access from a single entry point all of their various online accounts--from banks to credit cards to stock portfolios. The service lets LifeMinders add yet another personalization offering to its line of targeted email lists.

"This deal demonstrates what VerticalOne is all about," said the company's CEO, Gregg Freishtat. "We want to allow our customers to find their comfort zone, whether that means going to a Web site or getting an alert on a cell phone...After the Web, email is the single most popular online application."

Account aggregation, or "screen scraping," is shaping into a potentially hot niche, as companies bet consumers are eager to simplify their online experience and gain more control over the Web interface. Aggregators are taking aim at the wireless market as well, banking that consumers won't be eager to surf through multiple sites to manage their online accounts.

VerticalOne and rivals such as Yodlee are fiercely competing to sign partners, including financial institutions and Web sites. VerticalOne has inked partnerships with several financial Web sites, including CNBC, iVillage, Ameritrade Holding's OnMoney, Go.com and the Motley Fool.

Yodlee, which also offers account aggregation services for Web sites, has signed deals with America Online, AltaVista, personal finance software maker Intuit and Sabre Business Travel Solutions, among others.

The market faces several hurdles, however. Consumers must register for online accounts, which can be complicated and take time. They also must make password and login information available to a third party--the aggregator--raising security concerns among some experts.

"The (security) danger is real," Freishtat said.