In the news will be companies with innovative advertising models, such as Submit It!, the first company to automate search engine submissions; new marketing applications such as transaction-enabled e-mail from commerce company First Virtual; relaunched sites and services from AOL, CompuServe, Lycos, Netscape and other established companies; and brainstorming sessions on successful marketing strategies from technology leaders such as Intel.
Of industrywide interest will be the Internet Advertising Bureau's third-quarter Internet revenue report, which will be released at an IAB industry forum Dec. 11.
The IAB would not disclose findings, but Jupiter Communications projects third-quarter Internet revenue will be between $240 million and $250 million, up from Jupiter's projected $205 million in the second quarter. (IAB's second-quarter report put Internet revenue at $214.4 million.)
"This reflects the sure and steady growth we've been seeing all along," said Peter Storck, group director of online advertising at Jupiter.
"Big developments like the Intel co-op program [AA, July 28] are helping move the quarter along."
America Online and CompuServe are also preparing announcements. AOL will be rolling out new services for its AOL.com site, although details were not available at press time.
MINI WEB SITES IN E-MAIL
First Virtual Holding (www.fv.com), a San Diego company with a background in Internet bill payment, is unveiling a suite of services this week that use e-mail for marketing opportunities. On Dec. 10, it rolls out Virtual ADz, a software product that allows Web developers to embed mini Web sites into e-mails by using Java applets. For instance, a user can click on an e-mail Java applet to instantly pay a bill or to order a product or service. Gateway 2000 is an early adopter of Virtual ADz, and other advertisers using the software, including a major airline, are expected to be announced later this month.
Meanwhile, Submit It!, a Bedford, Mass.-based company that has reselling agreements with Microsoft Corp. and a distribution deal with Netscape Communications Corp., is releasing ClickTrade (www.clicktrade.com), a service that allows any Web site or advertiser to set up link partner programs. ClickTrade is similar to existing affiliate programs run by sites such as Amazon.com, except that payment is offered per click-through rather than for each product sold.
BETTER THAN RECIPROCAL PLANS
The service is free, and Submit It! takes 30% of an advertiser's payment to the publisher for each referred user. Scott Banister, VP-technology at Submit It!, said the system works better than reciprocal link programs because Web site operators have a greater incentive to send traffic. He also believes links become more meaningful when embedded in the content. "If you ask end-users what [are] the most useful things they find on the Web, it's the links to other sites," Mr. Banister said.
"I think it's an innovative bit of social and technical engineering," said Ray Valdes, research director, Internet strategies service, Gartner Group, San Jose, Calif., of ClickTrade. "It's simple but clever."
But Mr. Valdes pointed out Submit It! will be challenged because ClickTrade is a new concept with new procedures. "There is some missionary selling required on the part of Submit It! and the Web site operators who participate," he said.
Representing another trend this year is Mountain View, Calif.-based WhoWhere?, which continues to make strides selling its Web site hosting, directory and free e-mail service. Today it announces it has hit 4 million registered users from 15 partnership programs. With Excite signed on earlier this year, it adds ZDNet, iVillage, African-American site NetNoir, Jewish Communications Network and Christian Community Network.
With the kind of diversified Web audience it's reaching with its services, WhoWhere?'s Ted Shelton, senior VP-sales and marketing, said, "I think this proves the business model and marketplace. Our goal by 1998 is to have 100 partners up and running, and I think we're well on our way to proving that's a