Web zine creator Dan Pelson, a co-founder of Word (http://www.
word.com), in January will launch Bolt, a zine targeted to high school students and offering advice on everything from cracking the SAT to college freedom. Backed by a $5 million investment from a single private investor, Mr. Pelson's New York company, Concrete Media, plans to launch a dozen sites over the next few years. Sponsors will pay between $12,000 and $15,000 per month for the site, a cost per thousand rate Mr. Pelson expects will start at $50. He left Word's parent company, ICon New Media Productions, last June.
Excite last week announced it has acquired America Online's WebCrawler search engine in exchange for 2 million shares of Excite stock. The deal, giving AOL a 20% stake in the company, essentially makes Excite the biggest search engine online. As part of the deal, AOL and Excite have also entered into a 5-year distribution agreement. AOL will offer its 7 million subscribers a new search service to be branded AOL Search Powered by Excite. AOL will handle ad sales for the engine, but revenues will be split between the online service and Excite. For the next few months, WebCrawler will exist as a separate engine from Excite.
Ziff-Davis Publishing Co. named Kenneth Evans as director of ad sales and development, a new post, overseeing all ad sales efforts at the company's Web site, ZD Net (www.zdnet.com). Mr. Evans will create a two-person in-house sales team to develop ad packages for the site. He will also oversee the sales efforts of Softbank Interactive Marketing, ZD Net's primary ad rep firm. The move at ZD Net will not affect the company's relationship with SIM.
Accipiter (http://www.accipiter.com) has upgraded its Ad Manager product to incorporate a variety of new ad scheduling and targeting options. Ad Manager 1.1 will let site publishers deliver targeted ads based on user demographics. The software also offers real-time reporting on site activity; an ad scheduling status report; and an e-mail feature alerting advertisers when to replace or schedule more ads. Accipiter launched its service earlier this year in competition with NetGravity and others. Its clients include Happy Puppy and the newly signed AudioNet.
GeoCities (http://www.geocities.com), a conglomeration of regional sites on the Web, has hired New York shops Saatchi Entertainment Group and Zenith Media Group to handle its $2 million advertising account. GeoCities plans to launch an awareness-building campaign in 1997, using both online creative and offline promotion events. The effort will also build advertiser interest.
Despite its recent setbacks, CompuServe has not abandoned its ever-evolving segmentation strategies, said Scott Kauffman, VP-online services. The company, which expects to shutter WOW! by February 1997, already has plans to segment its new product-CompuServe for Business. Industry-specific versions of the service will carry premium price tags, and could be bundled with other services like intranet set-ups and hosting.