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Doubts certainly linger about the commercial viability of the Web. People argue that marketers can't just put up a cheap Web page offering any old product and have customers lining up at their URL.

However, if AT&T runs some commercials about a site, the marketer might just become a success story-even if the company doesn't really exist!

Earlier this year, AT&T began running a series of image spots, created by McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, that demonstrated the ease of using its Web products for online businesses. The first ad featured a fictional company that made rubber sunglasses called RubberEyes. As the song "I Can See Clearly Now" plays, a virtual success story unfolds of a struggling company that finds its niche on the Web . AT&T spokesman Burke Stinson, drawing a comparison to Hollywood movies says, "It's not true, but it's true enough."

True enough that the site AT&T set up about the spot has drawn a considerable bit of traffic from would-be shoppers. The Internet address (www. flashes on screen during the end of the commercial. Mr. Stinson thinks that some of the traffic also comes from the same types of people who call phone numbers mentioned in TV shows and movies.

While AT&T does help clients who sell products as unusual as gourmet horse feed, there probably isn't any hope for rubber sunglasses to see the light of day. But keep your eyes peeled. It is the Internet after all.

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