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Totalise ends free share offer

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Totalise plc is to stop issuing free shares from April next year in a move to underpin the Internet company's share price.

In a statement issued today Peter Gregory, CEO of Totalise, said: "The tradeable marketing shares have proved themselves to be a very effective marketing incentive, and some 185,000 customers have been brought to the company as a result."

"We feel that our product and service portfolio is now sufficiently established to operate without the need for this type of incentive, and this announcement should also address those with concerns regarding dilution within the company shareholding, which currently stands at 69.3 million shares."

Totalise was among a clutch of Internet companies which used the lure of free shares to help recruit subscribers.

This marketing approach was adopted during the dotcom boom when share prices in Internet companies spiralled to unbelievable heights. It also coincided with a mass scramble for punters as ISPs fell over themselves to sign-up new customers.

And for those who wanted to join the dotcom revolution but didn't fancy investing their own cash, offers such as this proved attractive.

That, though, was in July 1999. Today, shares in Totalise, which floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) a year or so ago, are currently trading at 5.5p.

Themutual.net is another outfit that launched a free share giveaway scheme two years ago. It has around 150,000 users of its ISP service and the business is currently trading profitably, according to MD Ben Heaton.

This means it's just a matter of time before his company's share price begins to move upwards, he says.
"We're confident that it will be a phenomenal success. It's like a rocket waiting on a launch pad waiting to take-off."

Themutual.net share price is currently trading at 0.05p.

Blue Carrots, a UK ISP with 550,000 claimed subscribers which doled out free shares to members, ended its flirtation with mutuality last year when the
assets were sold for £700K to Affinity Internet. ®

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