CompuServe readies Web play

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CompuServe is expected to make major announcements about its flagship brand's migration to the Web on June 4 at Chicago's Comdex trade show.

Under a plan announced in May called "Red Dog" the online service company is moving away from further investments in proprietary technology in favor of investing in new tools for a Web-based format and developing further licensing and content deals in HTML and other Web multimedia formats.

One change for marketers that coincides with "Red Dog": a CPM-based rate structure on CompuServe's flagship CompuServe Information Service this July.

In other news, CompuServe's Electronic Mall, which began its proprietary-to-Web platform migration months before the online service announced "Red Dog," is sampling a new rate card. Keith Arnold, manager-interactive merchandising, said the area will add a lower annual rate of $35,000 to its original rate of $50,000. The $35,000 rate offers links and some maintenance, while the $50,000 rate gives the marketer discounts on CompuServe's online brands and its magazine.

Mr. Arnold said he has been talking with Time Warner Interactive about potential relationships with its merchandising area called Dreamshop, but that the talks were "purely speculative" at this point. CompuServe and Time Warner's Pathfinder just entered a licensing deal with Cambridge, Mass.-based Open Market in which subscribers to any CompuServe product will get free access to Pathfinder Personal Edition, a fee-based personalized service available on the Web.

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