*Times' Campaign Touts Site's Accountability

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The New York Times Electronic Media Company yesterday launched its first trade advertising campaign for flagship site New York Times on the Web (www.nytimes.com) aiming to spur marketers' interest in its database of more than 7 million registered readers.

The campaign -- which debuted in Advertising Age and Industry Standard -- will run through spring in an effort to demonstrate that www.nytimes.com can deliver quantifiable results.

"We want to distinguish ourselves from ad networks that make claims [of reach and targeting ability] based on extrapolated information," said Peter Lenz, research director, New York Times Electronic Media Company.

Central to the campaign are two free so-called white papers, The Online Advertising Starter Kit and Smart Advertising. The Times hopes to be able to demonstrate to people who request the white papers four case studies in which the Times was able to help clients drive response rates up and the cost of customer acquisition down. For example, the Times says it drove the cost per response for one client down from $12.56 to $4.21.

The Times offers its advertisers -- which the company says number in the low hundreds -- the ability to target online advertising by zip code, age, gender and household income.

"This is all user supplied information, not some back-end secretive process," said Susan Hunt Stevens, director of marketing, The New York Times Electronic Media Company.

The company claims its site receives 2 million unique visitors per month and that it garnered 500,000 new registrants in March.

Though about 75 percent of the Times' online readership has opted in to receive marketing e-mail from the company, the Times is not selling access to its e-mail database and allows only advertisers who have signed on for a year or more to contact its readers via e-mail because it doesn't want to turn subscribers off with unwanted e-mail. Hunt would not estimate how much money the Times has invested into its site or into building its database since www.nytimes.com debuted in January, 1996.

The new campaign was created by PARTNERS & Simons Inc., Boston.

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