Chicago--As expected, the membership of the American Business Press approved Tuesday a resolution that formally welcomes non-print publishing companies into full membership of the association. The nearly unanimous vote--there was one negative proxy vote, said Gordon Hughes II, ABP president--immediately gives full voting rights to Web publishers such as VerticalNet and conference organizers such as Fulcrum. The move to broaden membership is a necessary step, Mr. Hughes said, to keep pace with the expansion of business media beyond the traditional trade publication. The move recognizes that the ABP's own membership long ago expanded beyond trade publications, extending their brands into trade shows, Web sites and custom publishing. The next step for the ABP is to recruit non-print publishing companies into the fold. CNET and PlasticsNet.com were among the potential targets mentioned by ABP members. Part of the motivation for broadening the membership footprint is financial. The ABP lost two large members earlier this year when CMP Media was acquired by Miller Freeman and Ziff-Davis resigned. The loss of those two companies cost the ABP a total of $300,000 in annual dues. But Mr. Hughes positioned the membership change as simply forward thinking on the part of the association. ~``It's a great way to go into the 21st century,'' he said. Marshall Freeman, chairman of the ABP and Miller Freeman, said, ``This is a very bold move that the association has taken and I'm very pleased to be a part of it.''