In a move that is expected to boost awareness of online charity options for e-shoppers, Marketing Services Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: MSGI) has agreed to buy up to 18 percent of not-for-profit shopping center GreaterGood.com. The deal is pending shareholder approval.
MSGI will buy 6 million shares of preferred stock and warrants for an undisclosed price. Additionally, MSGI Chairman Jeremy Barbera will take a seat on GreaterGood.com’s board of directors.
The strategic partnership will enable GreaterGood.com to continue building its online shopping village and, according to the company, “invest in aggressive marketing programs designed to directly involve socially-conscious online shoppers with the charity of their choosing.” MSGI, which is backed by GE Equity and CMGI, offers a variety of marketing services through subsidiaries Metro Direct, Media Marketplace, Inc., Metro Fulfillment, Inc, Pegasus Internet, CMG Direct, WiredEmpire and SD&A.
At GreaterGood.com, online shoppers buy brand-name products from established retailers such as Amazon.com, OfficeMax.com, eToys, 1-800-Flowers, jcrew.com and JC Penney. After purchase, at least 5 percent of the total spent is automatically funneled to a charity of the shopper’s choosing. No additional expense comes to the consumer.
GreaterGood.com lists such not-for-profit organizations as The Nature Conservancy, the Special Olympics, Save the Children, the World Wildlife Fund and the Humane Society of the United States on its site.
Expanding Charity Choices
The deal will give MSGI’s 2,000 not-for-profit clients access to GreaterGood-generated revenues. In turn, the company can increase GreaterGood.com’s appeal to more shoppers by enabling the shopping site to channel funds to a wider variety of causes and organizations.
“The significant growth of the Internet presents an unique opportunity to combine the ease of e-commerce shopping with charitable fundraising,” Barbera said. He added that “GreaterGood.com has a strong commitment to supporting consumers and charities, and the standards they have set through their recent ‘Bill of Rights’ further solidifies their standing as the premier destination for socially conscious shoppers.”
About the Companies
MSGI, based in New York, is organized into two business divisions: The Internet Group and the Marketing Services Group. The Internet Group acquires and invests in Internet companies such as GreaterGood.com. The division also provides Internet marketing, e-commerce applications, Web development and hosting, online ad sales and consulting.
Among other services, MSGI’s marketing division provides strategic planning, direct and database marketing, telemarketing, fundraising and media planning.
“MSGI’s commitment to enhancing the prominence and financial success of numerous not-for-profit groups clearly mirrors the goals of our own business model,” said GreaterGood.com CEO Paul Goodrich.
GreaterGood.com, based in Seattle, Washington, operates its own Web site and builds online shopping villages for its participating not-for-profit partners. Those sites are branded with the organizations’ names and are accessible from their home pages.