CNET Launches Targeted Online Ad Program For PC Makers

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CNET Inc., San Francisco, which operates an e-commerce and information Web site for hi-tech products, yesterday launched an online advertising program with four major computer manufacturers that will allow them to target computer buyers with different messages at various stages of the buying cycle.

Computer direct marketers Dell Computer Corp., Gateway 2000 Inc., Compaq Computer Corp. and Acer America Corp. all signed on to CNET's Premier PC Manufacturers Advertising Program, which is modeled on a similar program CNET rolled out for technology resellers last year.

The program involves the placement of different advertising messages at different areas of the Web site based on what stages of the buying process the viewer is likely to be in. CNET said its viewers pass through three stages in the process of making a technology purchase: evaluation, exploration and execution, which are represented in different areas of the CNET site network.

"If you are a marketer, you want to hit the buyer at all three stages of the buying cycle," said Matt Comyns, associate vice president of strategic development.

For example, he said, a PC manufacturer might want to use a basic branding message on an introductory page, and a more product-specific message on a page where the viewer might actually begin comparing products.

The terms of the agreements were not disclosed.

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