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Encyclopaedia Britannica, trying to fill a niche for high-quality information online, has launched its eBlast directory and is working on a marketing strategy and online ad campaign.

Joan Julian, VP-online services for Encyclopaedia Britannica, said there is a need for such a service. "We're going after parents with children who are online and the traditional Britannica audience, but also people who are just passionate about topics."

Nicholson NY, eBlast's interactive agency of record, is helping develop a marketing strategy that includes creative executions and media buying. The tagline is, "The thinking person's guide to the Internet."

The first phase is an awareness banner campaign to introduce users to eBlast, said Kathleen Sheridan, Nicholson NY media director. The general effort beginning now on sites such as New York Times on the Web, Yahoo! and Excite will be followed by a targeted approach on more specialized sites this fall, she said.

"We may test the promotion of different site features to determine how well-received [the features] are," said Ms. Sheridan. She said it's important to differentiate the eBlast directory (www.eblast.com) that's free of charge from search engines or other directories, especially ones offering content and those trying to becoming portals.

"It's not another Yahoo! It's not competing with Yahoo! It's complementary to Yahoo!," she said.


EBlast uses editors to sift Web content to find the most informative information. Then it's sorted into categories, such as art, history, literature, health, sports and travel. EBlast and Nicholson said that human touch adds relevance and quality to user searches.

"It's a strong direction for Britannica to go in the future," Ms. Julian said. "Take the strength of our editing and information management and apply it to [other Web sites'] information."

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