INTERACTIVE;FOCALINK AND DOUBLECLICK DEBUT NEW TECHNOLOGIES;STARTUPS OFFER WEB MARKETERS AUDITING TOOLS, ABILITY TO TRACE USERS' DOMAINS;HOW IT WORKS;UNDERSTANDS PLANNING; STANFORD CLASS PROJECT;POPPE SPINOFF

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Marketing on the Web is getting smarter.

Focalink Communications, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup, is introducing SmartBanner, a technology that provides centralized media planning services and post-buy analysis to marketers on the Internet.

Separately, Poppe Tyson's fledgling DoubleClick Web ad rep firm is acquiring Internet Advertising Network, an Atlanta company that tracks advertising reach and frequency across a broad network of Web sites.

Today, most Web sites serve up ad banners themselves. Focalink proposes to serve clients' banners itself. That way, the company can help marketers target different ads to site visitors depending on the domain of the visitor's server-government, commercial, education, etc.

"In essence, we centralize traffic control for Web media plans," said Focalink President Ron Kovas.

Pricing, although not finalized, will range from 40› to $2 per thousand page views.

"Our cost is directly contingent to the amount of traffic on each of the sites we serve a client's banner," said Mr. Kovas. "The more traffic a site gets, the more it may cost. It's a flat-rate system."

Focalink has tested its technology with Saturn Corp., Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., Xerox Corp., Prudential of America, Netscape Communications Corp. and agencies CKS Group, Hal Riney & Partners, Young & Rubicam and Anderson & Lembke.

"Focalink is one of the few new companies that understands how agencies work with their clients in planning and buying media," said Mark Thomas, VP-media research manager at Riney, San Francisco. "From aggregated reports we can tell which icons did well at which sites, which hours and using which creative approach."

"There's a real dearth of information that agencies can turn to for help in media planning on the Web," said David Yoder, media director at Microsoft agency Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco.

Focalink is beginning to serve banners to about 10 sites for Anderson client Microsoft.

"Eventually, we'd like them to serve all of our banners to each site that we're on," said Mr. Yoder.

Like its Internet brethren Yahoo Corp. and Internet Profiles Corp., Focalink was born at Stanford University.

The idea came out of a business school project from David Zinman, now VP-sales and marketing, and Jason Strober, now VP-business development.

After acquiring an initial $1 million in funding from venture capital firm Mayfield Group, Mr. Kovas came aboard as president.

DoubleClick, meanwhile, is building a network of sites on which marketers can buy ads. The company represents more than 20 sites now and expects to have 100 to 150 on its roster by April 1, said Fergus O'Daly, chairman-CEO of Poppe Tyson.

David Carlick will shift from general manager of Poppe Tyson's poppe.com Web development arm in Mountain View, Calif., to oversee New York-based DoubleClick, which is being spun off as a new company.

Internet Advertising Network will help link sites and track how users react to ads across the network. Similar to Focalink, marketers will have the ability to trace users by domain.

"If it does what they say it does, it's going to be a quantum leap forward," said John Nardone, director of media and research services at Modem Media, Westport, Conn, which will test the software. "Very, very quickly you're going to start seeing competing networks of sites."

Debra Aho Williamson contributed to this story.

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