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Have you checked your inventory lately?

No, I am not referring to the paper available for printing but the inventory of available ad space on your Web site.

It seems, once upon a time, we were all desperate for advertising online, and we gave away ads as value-add or at very low prices. Well, most of us have moved away from that practice, but we are running out of page views. We really need more eyeballs to sell.

This problem at places such as Yahoo! and AOL has been covered in the media, but the truth is, it's an even bigger problem for many b-to-b media sites. We have smaller numbers of page views and, as advertisers move their spending online, we are losing dollars because we don't have enough page views. Also, we probably still don't charge enough for what we do have.

How do we fix this problem? How do we get more nonprint readers to go to our Web sites, as well as our own print readers to visit? Of course, No. 1, we need compelling, fresh content, but No. 2, we need to do marketing.

And that takes online marketing know-how. That's why we just hired an online marketing manager for BtoBonline.com, and I am sure many others in the industry are putting specialists in place to drive traffic online.

Search firms can help us with our marketing efforts. We need to buy search keywords from Google, Yahoo!, Business.com, etc. Whether friend or foe, let's use them. Let's also have SEO firms optimize our sites. And let's charge more for online advertising.

Bob Felsenthal can be reached at bfelsenthal@crain.com.

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