Zooms Into Cyberspace

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Brainstorms Internet Marketing Inc., an online direct marketer of science fiction and fantasy merchandise, last month launched, a directory listing of over 1,000 selected science-fiction Web sites whose content-seeking fans will be tapped for e-commerce sales.

Fans browsing through sites on Star Wars, Star Trek, Space 1999, X-Files and Lexx, among others, can now buy related merchandise and collectibles by clicking on hyperlinks or stores on that are run by Brainstorms' three catalog properties of, and

"We want to create as many front doors to our business as humanly possible," said David Blaise, president of Brainstorms, Reading, PA. "We're trying to be a gigantic funnel and make sure consumers check through the same e-commerce function at the bottom of the funnel."

Brainstorms has opened property- or interest-specific stores to ease consumer purchases. For instance, a consumer on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer site can visit the store -- which features as one of the options a permanent strip panel over the content pages -- for related merchandise. The store is run by Brainstorms' catalog, which provides the back-end for all order fulfillment.

While offers merchandise on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xena Warrior Princess, Doctor Who, Area 51 and Star Trek, to name a few, focuses on educational smart toys for kids and adults. sells sci-fi-related computer software.

Cross-promotions between Brainstorms',, maximumbandwidth sites and SciFiJumpgate are key to attempting to entice content-seeking Web traffic to impulse-buy related merchandise.

"The primary goal of is to increase the stickiness of our company sites," said Blaise. "For example, if someone were to affiliate with, but if they're not an affiliate of, it gives us an opportunity to capture some of that traffic."

"[Similarly], if we can get 800-Trekker science-fiction fans to buy their non-science fiction gifts at, then it's another opportunity to generate sales through our e-commerce sites," added Blaise, who has sold science-fiction merchandise through catalogs since 1988.

Though SciFiJumpgate is positioned as a comprehensive sci-fi directory, competition is nipping at its heels. Prominent rivals include the Sci-Fi Channel's and, which while offering links to various sites focuses on pushing the movies of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin., another sci-fi and horror-site genre, recently launched.

"The biggest challenge," said Blaise, "will be to stay ahead of the inevitable copycat sites to come."
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