Netcom Boost Business With Webcertificates

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Internet service provider Netcom Online Communications (www.netcom.com), San Jose, CA, is offering free $20 Webcertificates to customers who sign up for Netcom service this quarter.


The Webcertificate is being launched as part of the company's new "No Bull Internet" advertising campaign, which is aimed primarily at Web users in the San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Denver and Dallas Fort-Worth markets, who Netcom said "may be frustrated or dissatisfied with their current provider."


According to Michael Greenbaum, senior vice president and general manager at Netcom, the goal is to have the certificate universally accepted by all online retailers. It's currently being accepted by most retailers "that accept credit card transactions."


Those who sign up with Netcom will receive e-mail messages from C/Base, Seattle, the Internet marketing company managing the Webcertificate program and www.webcertificate.com, 90 days after paying for the Netcom service. Consumers aren't limited to using the entire certificate at one location.


"They can use it in any amount they want at a number of different stores," Greenbaum said.


After deciding on a purchase, the consumer must inform the merchant he's using a Webcertificate and give his certificate number. The merchant then contacts C/Base, who debits the consumer's account.


"We saw this program as a way to help our customers become more comfortable with participating in e-commerce," Greenbaum said. "This is a way to let them make purchases anywhere they want without spending their money or using credit cards."


Netcom and C/Base are marketing Webcertificates through radio, billboard, print and banner ads. Greenbaum said there will be banner ads on the Netcom site, local Yahoo sites and Netscape as well as print ads and radio commercials.


C/Base is hoping to increase the number of online retailers that accept the certificate by marketing it to them as well. It also is promoting the certificate at www.webcertificate.com along with announcements about special sales taking place at particular merchants.


Netcom currently has 500,000 subscribers.

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