Virtual Technology Linked to MSN Sidewalk Yellow Pages

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Online computer hardware and software reseller Virtual Technology Corp., Minneapolis, began a brand marketing campaign that targets the customer base of MSN Sidewalk, an online products, services and entertainment guide.


Virtual Technology, which sells goods through its Web site located at www.virtual-world.com, is targeting strategic local markets with the campaign, with long-term plans to widen the scope of its promotion to include more cities. Sidewalk includes a buyer's guide, an entertainment guide and yellow pages that steer consumers to businesses in their area. Located at http://sidewalk.com, Sidewalk is part of the network of Internet services operated by software giant Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA. The network offers e-mail, customized news, a search engine and sites for travel, investing and shopping.


Virtual Technology will initially be located in Sidewalk's yellow pages for Minneapolis; San Francisco; Los Angeles; San Diego; San Jose, CA; and Orange County, CA. Basing its strategy on a tendency among Internet users to buy in their local communities after doing product research online, the company hopes to boost market share in the six areas.


The company sells a wide range of computers and peripherals on its site, totaling about 42,000 products. Virtual Technology offers on-site service and extended warranties for equipment sold via its online store, letting customers choose from several service options on individual products. The company says it ships 95 percent of its orders on the same day.


In November, Virtual Technology announced its intention to buy Graphics Technologies Inc., a Minneapolis-based technology wholesaler, for an undisclosed amount. Graphics Technologies had 1997 revenue of $83 million.
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