ADSMART REFOCUSES NETWORK

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The ADSmart web advertising network is scaling back on nearly half the sites in its network to focus exclusively on its six most profitable content categories. Neil Versen, VP-sales and marketing at ADSmart, said the network would drop approximately 35 of its 80 sites, but that the remaining sites make up roughly 7.1 million of the network's current 8.6 million individual monthly visitors.

Mr. Versen, who joined the network last December, said ADSmart (www.adsmart.net) is dropping categories, including parenting, women's, ethnic and gaming sites. Individual sites cut from the network include NetNoir, an African-American-targeted site, as well as GardenWeb, MysteryNet, WorldVillage and Planet Direct.

RANDOM COLLECTION OF SITES

"There was no rhyme or reason to the sites we had," said Mr. Versen, noting most of the sites dropped were small or not in promising categories. "We decided that there are certain areas on the Web that are important for advertisers today [which] we think are going to become bigger -- and that also represent opportunities to recruit [large branded sites] effectively."

The network will specialize in Generation X, sports, college, finance, travel and technology.

Jim Nail, a senior analyst at Forrester Research said the network's new direction "sounds like a very smart move."

Noting that keeping sites in a network requires a certain amount of overhead in terms of customer service and technical infrastructure, he said, "If they've identified sites that are just not selling enough to make that level of effort, it is probably a good idea. It sounds like the categories they're focusing on make sense. That's where the bulk of ad dollars are."

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