COMPETITION FOR WEB BROKERAGES HEATS UP: MYTRACK SPOTS TOUT A DIRECT NET CONNECTION

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Online brokerages face a more competitive road ahead as Track Data Corp. ramps up advertising for its Internet-based trading software, myTrack.

The company, an 18-year veteran in the financial services business, last week launched its first TV spots promoting myTrack on cable networks including CNN, CNBC and MSNBC as part of a $10 million effort from Lord Group, New York.

Introduced last year, myTrack first provided online stock quotes, news, company information and chat areas about stocks, options and futures in the U.S., Canada and Europe. It added stock trading in June.

Unlike Web-only brokerages such as E*Trade, myTrack is software loaded onto users' computers via CD-ROM or downloaded from myTrack's Web site (www.my

track.com). The software connects to myTrack's server via the Internet.

SPEEDIER TRANSACTIONS

The advantage of such a connection, said Track Data Corp. CEO Barry Hertz, is speedier transactions.

With Web-based brokerages, a connection with a server is made and broken every time a user clicks from page to page, Mr. Hertz said.

Charles Schwab & Co. in early September rolled out a similar product, called Velocity.

It is targeted to the "savvy investor, the active investor," who does at least 12 trades annually, said Lambert Bunker, VP-electronic brokerage product development at Schwab. "[Velocity] is a much faster-performing application," he said. "We've moved up to networked software applications [for online trading]."

Similarly, myTrack targets "the serious investor," as the TV spots state. MyTrack plans to follow the TV spots and print ads that ran in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal this summer with more print and radio

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