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DEAL HELPS READERS TO DIGEST THE WEB : RDA SETS SITE LAUNCH, SEARCH TOOL

By Published on .

Reader's digest Association is finally dipping its toes into the Web, acquiring a majority stake in a search engine called LookSmart.

Both the search engine and a Reader's Digest Web site will launch Oct. 28 as part of a strategy to make "smart external investments in the interactive arena," said Sarah Hammann, director of new-business development for RDA.

CATEGORIES INSTEAD OF KEYWORDS

Unlike existing engines, Look-Smart's technology is driven more by category navigation than by keyword searches.

At launch the engine will list more than 85,000 sites in a directo-ry built with a Java-enhanced interface.

"We're after quality and relevance of sites," said Evan Thornley, CEO of Melbourne-based LookSmart. "Our research shows that people like searching for sites by category rather than having to sift through many useless listings that are generated during keyword searches."

Category navigation allows users to hone their search by defining progressively more narrow categories of information.

LookSmart will link to the new Reader's Digest site.

Reader's Digest boasts 28 million international subscribers, including 15 million in the U.S. Some 3 million U.S.-based subscribers al-ready own PCs.

Ad sales for both sites will be divided among executives from LookSmart, Web rep firms and Reader's Digest reps.

CHARTER DEALS AT 50% OFF

LookSmart ad rates range from about $20 per thousand impressions to more than $50 per thousand. Charter advertisers get a 50% discount for a three-month trial starting Nov. 1. Rates for Reader's Digest World will be similar.

LookSmart recently snagged Brian Cowley, former director of business development at Netscape Communications Corp., as its VP-advertising sales. Mr. Cowley was instrumental in launching Netscape's Destinations program on its home page.

Modem Media, Westport, Conn., will launch an estimated $5 million online and print campaign promoting Reader's Digest World. Poppe Tyson, Mountain View, Calif., handles LookSmart's multimillion-dollar campaign, which will carry the tagline "LookSmart .*.*. or keep looking."

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