ABP weighs virtual members

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Williamsburg, Va. -- In the wake of Ziff-Davis and CMP Media's departure from the American Business Press, which is a large financial blow for the association, the organization at its August budget meeting is expected to invite online publishers, trade show organizers and other business information companies to join as full voting and dues-paying members, said ABP President Gordon Hughes II. The loss of ZD and CMP will cost the ABP $300,000 annually, or nearly 10% of its 1998 dues collection of $3.3 million. Online publisher VerticalNet joined the ABP last week as an affiliate member, a designation that allows it to pay significantly lower dues than print publishing members. If the anticipated changes in membership are approved, VerticalNet and companies like it can expect to pay significantly higher dues. The ABP and the industry it oversees has undergone such rapid change in the past two years that Mr. Hughes says the association, in order to reflect that its scope extends beyond the U.S. and beyond the press, may even consider changing its name. "That is on the table," Mr. Hughes said.
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