Commerce strategies drive Web sites

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Media companies need to think like commerce companies to attract customers--and advertisers--to their Web sites. That's one key theme presented at this year's Jupiter Consumer Online Forum, held last week in New York.

Because the medium has the potential to accurately identify consumers and deliver targeted advertising, the Web promises advertisers a more efficient and valuable advertising buy. That promise, however, has not yet been realized, said Mark Mooradian, director of consumer content strategies at Jupiter Communications. "No one can really deliver on that yet," he said.

But companies that conduct electronic commerce come close.

Companies that have developed Web sites that enable people to do things, such as booking tickets, have done a pretty good job of building a customer base, he explained. "Commerce companies are poised to deliver data better than media companies right now," Mr. Mooradian said.

That's because commerce sites have programs that yield customer data, such as loyalty and frequency programs. They also sell direct and prioritize customer information.

To similarly build and define a customer base, media companies--content providers that make money through advertising--should deploy those same commerce tactics, Mr. Mooradian said.

Conference speakers said the most successful sites, including Yahoo!, and eBay, are convenient and functional.

An analyst described the Internet is both a direct marketing and a branding vehicle.


Millward Brown Interactive, San Francisco, presented findings from a study it conducted for Comet Systems, New York. The study found that advertisers that use customized cursors--for example, turning the cursor arrow into a car above a banner--build brand awareness and recall, and increase click-through rates.

New products unveiled at the conference cater to consumers, such as a merged TV/Internet/telephone service from U S West, Englewood, Colo., and Network Computer, Redwood Shores, Calif.

Louisville, Colo.-based PrivaSeek launched its first product, PersonaXpress, which lets consumers control what personal information is disclosed to e-commerce sites.

Qpass, a Seattle Web-based transaction network that helps content providers create and sell digital products and services on the Internet, said it will offer daily subscriptions of the Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition.

Copyright March 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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