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Q:What resources are available to help me locate a good multimedia developer to work with my agency and my clients?

A:Multimedia companies are a dime a dozen these days, and some of their most lucrative contracts are coming from ad agencies and clients looking to add a new twist to their marketing mix.

But before you get out your Silicon Valley Yellow Pages, there are a few steps that might save a lot of time and effort.

First, contact one or more of the interactive associations, such as the Interactive Multimedia Association, Annapolis, Md., or International Interactive Communications Society, Beaverton, Ore. While both serve to promote multimedia in general, they also maintain detailed membership lists.

A second avenue is a new publication, called The Multimedia Directory. Published twice a year by the Carronade Group, Los Angeles, the directory offers company profiles, areas of specialization, financial data and other information.

A third choice is to work with a consultancy. But be forewarned: Many consultancies maintain their own stable of multimedia developers and won't necessarily refer you to the company most appropriate for you. Ask how deep their database is.

A new breed of company purports to offer impartial advice, and this may be a better route for those with a good, basic knowledge of multimedia. CD3 Consulting, Stamford, Conn., and Blooming Tree Productions, Strawberry Point, Iowa, are two such outfits.

Once you've narrowed down your list, consider these important points:

Does the developer have experience with marketing-oriented multimedia?

Where is the developer located? Geographic proximity is important, especially with early projects that may require a lot of hands-on work.

Q:I have been hearing a lot about something called Multimedia Gulch. What is this place? Where is it located?

A:Multimedia Gulch has been described variously as the next Silicon Valley and as a West Coast SoHo. It's an area of San Francisco near the Bay Bridge that has become home to dozens of multimedia developers, entrepreneurs and new-media magazines.

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