Netscape Drives Traffic to Portal Site

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In an attempt to increase membership and promote its redesigned portal site, Netscape Communications (http://home.netscape.com/), Mountainview, CA, will launch a $10 million marketing campaign this month with help from companies in the entertainment industry.


Advertising for the campaign will be in the form of banner ads, pop-up ads and direct links from its partners' sites, including Warner Bros. Online, Paramount Digital Entertainment, Hollywood Online and Sony. Lynn Carpenter, director of marketing at Netscape Netcenter, wasn't sure exactly how many ads will appear but said the 10-week campaign would reach 75 percent of the Web audience. Print and broadcast advertising will follow in the fall.


"With the launch of our new Netscape Netcenter portal site complete, we are now looking to drive membership and raise awareness of the breadth of information and services now available," said Mike Homer, executive vice president and general manager of Netscape's Netcenter, which has close to 5.4 million members. "We want Internet users to know that Netcenter is not only a resource for business and computing services but also serves as a leading consumer destination as well."


Netscape's new portal site was launched earlier this month -- and along with a new integrated navigation scheme, it contains 17 content channels and new services. Portals sites serve as entry points to the Web for users and have a collection of content and services. The site has directory services such as What's New, What's Cool and Yellow Pages and White Pages by InfoSpace. Other features include weather reports, stock quotes and news headlines from ABCNews.com.


In the past, Netcenter has been known mostly for being a resource for business and computing services. It intends to keep that core group, but since half of its visitors are consumers said it's time to start offering more services to that audience.


"We want to try and maintain our leverage with that business base," Carpenter said, "but we want to do that and start to build compelling areas of consumer space. We believe the campaign is going to be very lucrative in the way of new membership."


According to Carpenter, Netscape hopes to acquire 500,000 new members through the campaign. Netcenter gets 8.5 million "unique" visitors each day.


In conjunction with the campaign, Netscape will run "The Netscape Silver Screen Sweepstakes." To register, Netcenter visitors need to sign up for Netscape WebMail by USA.NET, its new free e-mail service. They will receive a welcome e-mail along with the details and rules of the game. Users also may register by e-mail.


The sweepstakes will have multiple rounds and instant-win prize drawings. The grand prize is a home entertainment system, including a 32-inch television, surround sound system and DVD/CD player. First-prize winners will be eligible for a hometown movie screening for 50 friends or a trip to Los Angeles for a movie premiere.
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