Comet Systems, which makes branded cursors for use as marketing tools, today will announce it has secured $20 million in a third round of financing. Lead investor idealab Capital Partners, idealab's venture capital arm, contributed $16 million--the biggest single-company investment the VC financier has made to date.
The Comet Cursor allows replacement of an arrow computer cursor with an animated or graphic icon. Director of Marketing Ben Austin said Comet Systems will use the money to develop a new line of cursors, due this fall, that will add hyperlinks to Web pages. AT&T WorldNet, Comedy Central, Universal Studios Online, Warner Bros. and Yahoo! are among companies that have licensed the Comet Cursor technology. The cursor is available for download at marketers' sites and at www.cometzone.com.
TBWA Worldwide rolls out its first global Web site
TBWA Worldwide, New York, this month launches its first agency network Web site (tbwa.com), a multimedia-rich portal that over time will link to the network's approximately 20 local sites. "The idea here is that it will provide a piece of glue that will be able to present the network in its entirety," said President-CEO Michael Greenlees.
The site, created by TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., offers video of commercials, audio of agency executives, and the ability to order a commercial reel and agency credentials. TBWA also plans to install Webcams in all offices.
The site introduces a new corporate identity using a red "TBWA"; the format allows local agencies, such as TBWA/Chiat/Day, to append their names after the slash. Local sites will be redesigned to complement the network site, though Mr. Greenlees said local sites and agencies will retain individual identities. Mr. Greenlees, noting the value of local brands such as Chiat/Day, said, "I don't necessarily think" it would make sense at some point to rename the agencies simply TBWA. He added: "What do the politicians say? I'm not ruling it out or ruling it in."
`Teen' plans Web insert
on trends and fashion
Emap USA's Teen Magazine plans a 16-page Web guide that will appear in November issues of the girls' teen publication. "Go! The Girls Guide to Everything on the Internet" will cover teen trends, as well as celebrity fashion. Depending on the response from advertisers and readers, Teen said it would consider spinning off the guide into a separate publication.
Yahoo! to broadcast
`Maxim' party in August
Men's magazine Maxim will jump on the voyeurism bandwagon when it throws a party Aug. 10. The magazine will take over a Los Angeles hotel for the publishing party; everything--from bath towels to matches to signs outside--will be rebranded Maxim Motel. Yahoo! Broadcast will Webcast festivities live via three Webcams. Sponsors include Heineken USA's Amstel beer, Bacardi-Martini USA and Sega of America Dreamcast.
Avenue A, an online ad services company, and 2Roam, a wireless Web application service venture, will announce a partnership July 11 to track wireless ads. The deal will allow Avenue A clients to place targeted wireless ads and track the results. . . . Teen pop singer Britney Spears is a major shareholder in Sweet-16.com, a media company that has a monthly magazine, Web site, radio show and TV show. Sweet16, which targets girls 9 to 12 and teens, officially launches July 31. . . . Twenty-three of the Fortune 100 companies--including Hewlett-Packard Co. and Intel Corp.--could not be contacted by e-mail through their Web sites, according to a study by Rainier Corp., a tech marketing communications company. Among those that did offer an e-mail link, one-third--including American Express Co. and Walt Disney Co.--failed to respond to requests for basic investor information. Fastest response: United Parcel Service of America (five minutes). Slowest among those that did respond: SBC Communications (25 days) and Dell Computer Corp. (23 days). . . . Harrods.com hired AGA Catalog Marketing & Design, New York, to create a catalog for the London retailer's e-commerce site. . . . Women's health site SelfCare.com launches "The SelfCare Hour" July 12 on the ValueVision TV shopping network.
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