In the U.S., Softbank Interactive Marketing handles ad sales for the Web sites of AT&T Business Network, NBC, Netscape and Playboy.
"We're looking to take on Europe-specific sites with high potential for pan-European and global traffic," said Gordon Simpson, director of European operations. "We want to sign three to six sites in the first year; we're in serious talks with four or five sites now."
The number of Internet users in Europe is growing by an estimated 5% each month, but ad revenues from Internet Web sites are tiny and stem mostly from sponsorship and competitions rather than from banner advertising.
"If it reaches double figures [in millions of dollars], I'd be surprised," Mr. Simpson said. "All [European] sites are at the very beginning of the development stage now."
Parent Softbank Corp. is Japan's biggest distributor of software for personal computers and owns U.S. computer magazine company Ziff-Davis Publishing as well as the COMDEX computer exhibition business.