WebAdvantage.net Tapped for Consumerreports.org Marketing

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Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, has named WebAdvantage.net Inc. to handle online marketing for consumerreports.org.

WebAdvantage.net competed with two undisclosed shops for the $125,000 account. There was no incumbent handling online marketing responsibilities for the Internet arm of the ratings service.

The interactive agency will handle search engine optimization, online marketing and consulting, media planning and buying, and creative.

"We're to build awareness and traffic, and, ultimately, through that traffic to build subscribers to the Web site," said Hollis Thomases, president of WebAdvantage.net, Aberdeen, MD.

The site displays Consumer Reports independent evaluations on products in categories such as appliances, cars and trucks, food and beverages, personal finance, home furnishings, travel and leisure, computers and electronics and cleaning products, among others.

"Primarily, our focus is on a section of their site called Auto Hub," Thomases said. "It's a free section for users, with car buying, selling, dealer negotiation and safety trends [ratings]. At a certain point, if you want to get more detailed information, you can subscribe to the service."

The interactive agency expects to drum up interest in an area on consumerreports.org that is not getting enough attention.

"Awareness is an issue because there's this huge section on their Web site that doesn't attract enough traffic," Thomases said. "Automobile information is such an important piece of information people look at. [Consumer Reports] feels they should be generating more traffic to that section."

Founded three years ago, WebAdvantage.net's clients include 4checks.com, PhotoTunes.com and PhillipsFoods.com. It does not disclose revenue or billings.

Services offered by the agency include Internet marketing strategy and development, e-mail marketing, online public relations and consulting.

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