It was 1985. Microsoft was a few months away from introducing something they called Windows when Len Muscarella, a former journalist, founded Interactive Media Associates. Len had been first managing editor at Prodigy, a CBS-IBM-Sears co-venture, and he was uniquely poised to recognize that the online arena - still in its infancy - would evolve into a major force.
At first, the company’s primary engagements included consulting in online strategy to financial, publishing, and telecommunications clients who numbered among the Fortune 1000, bringing it industry experience working with partners such as AT&T, IBM, and Sears.
During the early ‘90s, IMA continued to consult, helping companies deliver information using the dominant online systems – Prodigy, AOL, and CompuServe.
In the fall of 1995, just as IMA celebrated its 10th anniversary, America Online (AOL) was about to reach the 4 million-subscriber milestone. Just over three years later, in January 1999, AOL signed up 4 million subscribers in a single month! This, Len said in a 2005 retrospective newsletter article:
"…pretty much explains the third quintile of IMA’s existence. The dot-com explosion was perhaps the most exciting five years in any industry, ever. Tens of thousands of businesses were launched. Millions of jobs were impacted. And thousands of paper, although somewhat fewer real, fortunes were made."
With the advent of Netscape and other Web browsers, IMA moved from a consulting to a Web design and development business, helping many of their previous clients make the leap as well. IMA launched our first eCommerce site offered by The Topps Company. We secured one of our most significant clients in the 1990s when New York City Ballet’s first eCommerce Website was launched – a client still with IMA today.
Len, together with a long-time associate in the interactive industry, Christina Ford Haylock, decided to author a book on doing business on the Web. Together, they recruited authors to write chapters, working jointly on editing and writing. The book – which had long had the working title of After The Gold Rush: Mining Strategic Business Opportunities on the Internet was published in 1999 by Adams Media as Net Success. The book was precisely that, going to five printings and being used as a text in business schools.
Len always combined caution and vision in his business dealings, and it was these two qualities that kept the doors open at IMA during the dot-com bust and the recession of the early 2000s. The company gained considerably in maturity during this time period, moving away from home-grown content management and eCommerce tools and toward industry-leading tools that could be customized by the growing number of in-house developers. As Len is quoted as saying in 2005:
"The maturation of the Internet also means there are more quality tools in the market than ever before, meaning that IMA’s challenge has gone from building applications from scratch to helping our clients choose the best applications for their objectives and customizing and integrating them in a way to obtain the right results."
Len’s passing in 2009 might have meant the end of the company’s long history of success. However, the strong management team he had assembled, together with Sally Muscarella, have innovated and expanded it in ways that have caught industry attention and earned numerous awards.
As our portfolio of clients grows, so do our abilities to work with them on projects of ever-increasing technical complexity and digital marketing opportunity. Our company motto, "Making Your Business Click” reflects our business passion to create value for clients.
And what does the future hold? "We are moving forward into mobile application development, integrating marketing, search and social campaigns, and delivering world-class Websites that support our clients' continued leadership in their vertical markets," says IMA President Sally Muscarella. "Our 25-year experience has shown us that our strongest asset is our ability to innovate and embrace continually evolving interactive technology to support client marketing success."