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MASTERCARD KICKS OFF CAMPAIGN TO SPUR ONLINE COMMERCE MasterCard International last week launched an estimated $500,000 to $600,000 interactive marketing and educational ad campaign called Shop Smart!, designed to speed up the development of electronic commerce. It's partnering with Mercedes-Benz of North America, N2K's Music Boulevard, Internet Shopping Network and Preview Travel in the effort to help consumers feel safer using their credit cards online.

Multimedia Resources, Larchmont, N.Y., MasterCard's interactive agency of record, developed the campaign, which also includes a new Web site area and an online instant-win game to build awareness.

Knight-Ridder unveils Real Cities

Knight-Ridder last week announced Real Cities, a network of 32 Web sites for communities served by the media company's local newspapers. The network (www.realcities.com) will feature news, entertainment guides, electronic Yellow Pages, and specialized services for job seekers and recruiters, car buyers and dealers, home hunters and real estate professionals.

PointCast names CEO

Late last week, Internet broadcaster PointCast named David Dorman, 43, its new President-CEO. Mr. Dorman, former executive VP of SBC Communications and former President-CEO of Pacific Bell, replaces PointCast founder Christopher Hassett, who becomes chairman.

In other news

NetGravity Nov. 12 will announce AdCenter, an ad management system for medium-size Web sites. . . . Another ad measurement service, NetRatings, will be announced next week. . . . EarthWeb begins using its Moderator software on ChatPlanet, its network of 10,000 chat sites. The software, which is sold commercially for online meetings, allows moderators to select which messages are posted in a chat session. . . . E-mail publisher InfoBeat inked a deal with Microsoft Corp. to send users of Microsoft's Outlook Express its news service. Outlook Express is the mail package bundled with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0. . . . Netscape Communications Corp. (www.home.netscape.com) is expanding its commerce with a section called Netscape Marketplace. The browser also announced exclusive deals with N2K and bookseller Amazon.com. . . . The New York Times plans to launch a Web site next year called New York Today (www.nytoday.com). Advertising for the site will emphasize directory and online classified ads.

Clarification

In "AOL taps offline databases in ad targeting quest" (AA, Oct. 20, Page 46), America Online does not share its subscribers' personal information with marketers. Rather, AOL divides its users into demographic groups, with the help of offline databases, which it then sells to marketers as anonymous data for ad targeting.

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