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Lohse opens Web consultancy

William Lohse, former president of Softbank Forums, the giant conference and trade show organization, opened a Web consultancy called NetWeb.

NetWeb will be based in San Francisco and will offer advertising, sales, marketing and digital commerce services.

Yahoo! unveils guides for TV and seniors

Yahoo! is partnering with Internet TV listings company Gist Communications to introduce Yahoo! TV Coverage (http://tv.yahoo.com). Users will be able to personalize TV listings for their region and interests and read TV programming stories supplied by Gist.

Today Yahoo! Seniors' Guide (www.seniors.yahoo.com), goes live, with content from the ThirdAge News Service, a popular seniors online community, as well as 13 interest areas including travel, sports and recreation, and Social Security.

MBInteractive unveils brand-tracking plug-in

The Millward Brown Interactive brand research and consulting group is releasing a plug-in for Accipiter's popular AdManager banner-serving software that will help advertisers track online ads' brand effectiveness.

The software, called Brand Trak, is based on the same methodologies behind MBInteractive's influential report last summer with the Internet Advertising Bureau that showed the power of banners for brand building. The technology could set a new standard for measuring Web ad effectiveness.

@plan survey shows surge in Web shopping

More than 24% of Web users are now shopping online, according to market researcher @plan (www.webplan.com) in results released today.

Airline reservations, and stocks and mutual funds saw the biggest increases of shoppers. For instance, 2 million adults purchased airline tickets on the Web in February, compared with 502,000 adults nine months ago; the number of adults buying books online rose to 2.3 million from 1.2 million.

The @plan research is compiled quarterly from surveys of 40,000 adult Internet users.

Bloomberg inks deal with AOL

Bloomberg will become a major supplier of financial news on America Online's Business News Center, in a deal announced last week. Bloomberg will also supply news to other relevant areas of AOL during the three-year agreement.

Planet Direct and Erols break 1st joint campaign

Regional Internet service provider Erols Internet and Web online service Planet Direct today break their first joint ad campaign. One spot, part of a $1 million regional TV campaign, asks viewers, "Where would you be without America Online?" then answers with "On Erols Planet Direct" and a series of quick-cut images of users surfing with the free Planet Direct service. Ehrens Motion & Music of Bethesda, Md., and Rockey & Rockwell, Vienna, Va., created the campaign.

In other news

GeoCities (www.geocities.com) today starts offering its members multimedia objects created by Parable, a Newton, Mass., software company. Animated "Things" can be added to users' home pages. . . . Accrue Software announces today Insight 2.0, an upgrade to its traffic analysis software that has improved user-tracking and the ability to analyze data across multiple servers. . . . Deja News, a search engine for news groups, relaunched last week with a new logo, features and sponsorship opportunities. . . . The Internet Advertising Bureau (www.iab.net) opened a headquarters in New York last week, naming Frank Dudley as its first director. Rich LeFurgy, senior VP-advertising and product manager, ABC News/ESPN Internet Ventures, was re-elected chairman. . . . America Online last week laid off 80 employees from its Digital City guides.

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