AIM Smart Offers Free Internet Service and is Added to
Internet Stock Review Watch List
(Business Wire; 07/13/98)
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 13, 1998--The Internet Stock Review
Monday announced that it has added AIM Smart Corporation (OTC: AIMS) to its
Watch List. Since the Watch List was released in January of 1998, the top five
performing companies have increased an average of 325%.
"We have added AIM Smart to our Watch List as the company now enters the
roll-out phase of its nationwide network of free Internet access providers,"
stated the editor. "If AIM Smart is able to successfully carry out its business
plan, there is little question that their offering will send tremors throughout
the board rooms of every major Internet Service Provider in the country. What
they are planning on doing could literally cause every ISP and every Portal,
which aims to be the starting point for Internet users, to re-examine their own
business model." This would include, among others, Concentric (Nasdaq: CNCX),
Earthlink (Nasdaq: ELNK), Mindspring (Nasdaq: MSPG), Rocky Mountain Internet
(Nasdaq: RMII) and Verio (VRIO).
"A successful roll-out has the potential to question the very foundation
that every retail ISP is built upon, which is; ease of access at $19.95 per
month," he added. "The indisputable fact is that every user of the Internet
within AIM Smart's target markets will eventually have to ask themselves two
questions. Do they want to continue paying $19.95 per month or would they
prefer free Internet access? Secondly, what concessions will users have to make
in return for free Internet access? While we can't answer the first question,
we can answer the second. We have signed up for the Smart Shopper Internet
service, and as we are currently using the service daily, we find that we have
given up nothing."
The Internet Stock Review has followed AIM Smart's progress from the start-
up stage to the roll-out stage and would suggest that others (analysts,
reporters and investors) to begin following the company's progress. As a
reminder, the Internet Stock Review does not recommend the securities of the
companies it follows and reports on, nor does it publish buy or sell
ABOUT AIM SMART:
During 1997, AIM Smart initiated an ambitious four-step game plan to lay
the foundation for the launch of a nationwide network of free Internet access
providers. The game plan, which had to be successfully completed prior to the
nation-wide roll-out of the service entailed: 1. Entering into a joint venture
with Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) to create a new version of the Internet Explorer,
designed to be the first thing an Internet user sees when they sign onto the
Internet. 2. Identify a nationwide network of Points of Presence (POP's) for
Internet users to dial into, supported by advertising fees rather than
subscription fees. 3. Launch a fully operational Internet access service to
work out the bugs in anticipation of the nationwide roll-out. 4. Partner or
align with a leading advertising agency to fully implement the Smart Shopper
niche target marketing program to the potential 25 million subscriber base.
During 1997 and 1998 AIM Smart Accomplished the Following:
1. Created the "Smart Shopper Explorer," in a joint venture with
Microsoft. The Smart Shopper Explorer is a special version of the Microsoft's
Internet Explorer web browser. It is the first thing an Internet user sees when
they sign onto the Internet. An article in Bloomberg Technology News stated
that, "For Microsoft, this venture is another attempt to get its "IE" browser
software into more homes...and grab market share from industry leader Netscape
(Nasdaq: NSCP). For AIM Smart, it is the point of opportunity to deliver
advertising to a controlled audience. The browser is distributed at Smart
Shopper Pavilions (kiosks) located in shopping malls. The Smart Shopper
Explorer/Pavilion won two Retail Application Development awards in the spring
of 1997 at the National Retail Federation trade show in Chicago--which is given
to software developers that have created the "best of breed" system--using
2. Identified a nationwide network of Point-Of-Presence (POP's). AIM Smart
realized that shopping malls drove more unique user traffic than most web
pages. Shopping mall owners were enthusiastic about creating new opportunities
for its store owners. AIM Smart was able to sign exclusive contracts with three
of the largest mall owners in the U.S. The malls would act as distributors of
the Smart Shopper Explorer and dial-up centers for the free Internet service.
This was the beginning of the World's largest network of online retail stores.
On October 9th (1998) AIM Smart entered into a "test" contract with The
Rouse Company (NYSE: RSE), which owns 59 malls throughout the U.S. On February
25th, Rouse announced that it would "bypass" the test and commence a full roll-
out schedule. Then, on December 3rd (1997), AIM Smart entered into a contract
with The DeBartolo Group (NYSE: SPG) to distribute the Smart Shopper Explorer
and act as a Point-Of-Presence for what amounts to one-half of all Americans.
The DeBartolo Group has more than 240 malls and a customer base that makes 1.6
billion annual visits and numbers over 100 million. Finally, on May 26th
(1998), WellsPark Group contractually signed and announced a complete roll-out
for its 31 indoor malls.
Mall stores pay a monthly fee to AIM Smart to be on the Smart Shopper
Network. The contract between each store and AIM Smart is written as part of
the store owner's co-op advertising agreement with the mall owner. Each store
receives a web page which can be accessed directly from the Smart Shopper
Explorer. Each store has the opportunity to show and advertise products to the
approximate 50,000 shoppers which live in a 5 mile radius of each mall. There
are an average of 100 stores per mall and 30,000 - 50,000 stores are expected
to sign up for the service. In addition to the monthly fees, Aim Smart will
have the opportunity to generate revenues from local and national advertisers
and earn a direct percentage (7-10%) of online sales.
All told, AIM Smart has signed up and will offer its free version of the
Internet Explorer and free Internet access at 325 of the nation's 550 largest
malls. This gives AIM Smart a current potential subscriber base of over 16
million users. As a reference point, America Online (NYSE: AOL) has in excess
of 14 million subscribers.
3. Launched a fully operational Smart Pavilion and Smart Shopper Explorer
at the Laguna Hills Mall to test the service. Currently, twelve malls (ISP's)
are fully operational and signing up subscribers. Four malls (Santa Monica
Mall, Laguna Hills Mall, The Mall In Columbia, and The Fashion Mall in Las
Vegas) can be viewed at the company's web site.
4. Signed WPP Group to implement niche target marketing to the three
million potential subscribers shopping at the nearly 7,000 Rouse Company
stores. WPP is the world's leading communications and services company with
sales of $12 billion and revenues of $2.9 billion in 1997. Members include J.
Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mathers Worldwide, Millward Brown International,
Research International, Hill & Knowlton, The CommonHealth and Enterprise
Identity Group among others. The group of companies provide clients with
advertising and media planning, buying and research.
5. Enters into a technology agreement with Ascend Communications (Nasdaq:
ASND) and Klein Technologies. This gives AIM Smart a strong boost in the ISP
department as the partnership builds out the proposed 600 mall nationwide
network. The system, which is operational in 12 malls presently, utilizes
Ascends's new MAX TNT Wan Access switches. Klein has the ability to install and
service 300 Points-Of-Presence malls (ISP's) each year and will manage the
entire AIM Smart Network from its headquarters in Vienna, VA.
What To Watch.
In a interview carried in ZD Net News Gary Eberhardt, Chief Operating
Officer of AIM Smart, Mr. Eberhardt told SmartReseller that for every penny it
spends providing free Internet Access service, AIM Smart earns back 25 cents in
advertising. With that statement and everything else that AIM Smart has
accomplished, we intend to closely follow the progress of the company during
the coming months from the following standpoints. Roll-out: During the first
implementation phase, the company expects to reach 500,000 - 600,000 users,
putting it on par with national retail ISP's. Financing: Will the company be
successful in financing the infrastructure necessary for a full roll-out.
Corporate Infrastructure: Is the company attracting and retaining the
additional personnel necessary to handle the rapid anticipated growth. While
all these factors are typical of and need to monitored at any rapid growth
company, they are especially important to monitor for any company which is
doing business in the fast paced internet industry.
LINKS: Research Report: http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/980602/lt_lawrenc_1.html Web
Site: http://www.aim-smart.com/ National Network Diagram: http://www.aim-
smart.com/Nationa41/sld001.htm Online Malls: http://www.aim-smart.com/mall.htm
Press Releases: http://www.aim-smart.com/press.htm CBS Market Watch article:
http://cbs.marketwatch.com/newsarchive/19980623/stwatch%5Ftua.htx ZD Net
article: http://www.zdnet.com/zdnn/content/zdnn/1205/260935.html Article in
IAR: http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/1998/03/0301-internet.html Article in C-
AIM Smart Corporation 888-AIM-SMART 11280 Hegel Road Goodrich, MI 48438
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