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Focalink, Bellcore urge open ad protocol

Focalink Communications and Bellcore are seeking collaboration from Web developers, online publishers and advertisers for an open protocol to communicate Web ad traffic information and performance data. Once the protocol is completed, the companies plan to turn it over to an independent body for management and control. Separately, the two companies said they will begin working together to market their Web advertising products and services.

eShare launches competitor to iChat

eShare Technologies, a company backed by Softbank and Chase Manhattan, unveiled a chat product called Expressions that Lotus Development Corp., American Express Corp and others are using. The company will soon launch a more consumer-oriented chat product called Reunion that will compete directly with iChat. eShare is seeking an agency.

FTC orders adult sites shut down

The Federal Trade Commission last week won a federal district court order closing down three adult Web sites that secretly switched users to an international phone line and $2 per minute phone charges for the rest of the computer session. The FTC charged that a viewer that Audiotex Connection, Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Promo Line, Dix Hills, N.Y., put on their sites actually was a program to disconnect the call and reconnect through the international line without telling consumers.

AOL renews pacts with NYT, Hachette

America Online last week renewed its contracts with The New York Times and Hachette Filipacchi Magazines. The Times will become AOL's anchor newspaper and provide other, exclusive content; Hachette agreed not to distribute its content to any other third-party online service. Both publishers will promote AOL as part of the terms of the renewal-Hachette on its Web sites and the Times in its print version.

CompuServe stumbles, CEO Massey exits

Robert Massey, chairman-CEO of CompuServe, unexpectedly resigned last week. Frank L. Salizzoni will serve as chairman and acting CEO. The company reported a loss of $101.9 million for the nine months ended Jan. 31. Subscribership for all CompuServe online services remained flat at 5.3 million.

Other news:

PointCast formed an alliance with Trans Cosmos to create PointCast Japan. . . . Microsoft Corp. and PC Quote are new sponsors of Final Bell (, a stock market simulation game produced by Sandbox Entertainment for USA Today. . . . Jeremy Verba to president, a new post at E! Online (, Los Angeles, from VP-entertainment ventures at CNET, San Francisco, an equal partner in the online service with E! Entertainment

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