INTERACTIVE: EXCITE SERVES JAVA ADS, FIRST TO USE NEW SOFTWARE

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Search engine excite today launches Java-enhanced ad banners capable of animation and showing multiple images and messages.

It's the first major use of Java on Excite, and marks the debut of Java-authoring tool MicroSites, developed by Israel-based software company Zapa Digital Arts.

Initial clients include New York agencies SiteSpecific, for its client N2K's Music Boulevard (www.musicblvd.com); Wunderman Cato Johnson, to promote its new online interactive marketing zine Propheus, (www.propheus.com) (see bulletin board this page); and iTraffic, for CD-Now (www.cdnow.com). Excite said it would set rates for the banners in September when testing finishes.

Several major ad agencies are expected to announce plans for MicroSites Aug. 12 at Jupiter Communications' Online Advertising 2 conference.

Java in banners "is one of the things that makes [interactive advertising] fundamentally better than traditional media," said Craig Donato, director of advertising and measurement products at Excite.

Publishers have resisted using Java banners because programs were commonly flawed and had to be tested, said Mr. Donato, noting that MicroSites is pre-tested. The streaming software, created for Web site building, can also track users' interaction with ads.

Zapa Digital Arts (www. zapadigital.com) will begin selling MicroSites in the fourth quarter.

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