Ford, Ziff-Davis roll online guide

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Ford Motor Co.'s ford Division is teaming with Ziff-Davis to launch an online guide to car buying, Ford's latest effort to connect with key Web partners.

Onlinecarguide.com, officially launching today, offers a primer of automotive information, with links to buying services, such as Autobytel.com, pricing service Edmund's as well as car finance and insurance sites.

The estimated $1 million to $2 million project includes the microsite, developed by Ziff-Davis' ZDNet, and a 12-page advertising brochure that will run in June issues of FamilyPC, PC Computing and Yahoo! Internet Life and the July issue of PC Magazine. The brochure also will be distributed at dealers.

Ford Division also will follow with ads within Ziff-Davis magazines to promote the site.

EDUCATING PROSPECTS

Janet Klug, Ford Division's marketing communications manager, said the site is part of Ford's effort to help prospects educate themselves before setting foot in a dealership.

The guide, identified as being presented by Ford, includes references to Ford products and links to its sites. At Ford Division's request, ZDNet excluded other manufacturers' URLs from the online guide; the guide, though, does note rivals have their own sites.

The project is a coup for Ziff-Davis, which last year opened a Detroit office to push for auto ads.

Ford Division and J. Walter Thompson USA, Detroit, worked with ZD on creating the brochure and the test, the latest in a string of projects the automaker is staging with Web content partners. ZD is to provide Ford Division with unspecified data about the site's performance.

Parent Ford Motor Co. is talking with major Web players including Yahoo! and Microsoft Corp. about more partnership deals. The company also is sponsoring Digital Entertainment Network's new TV-like Web programming.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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