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Lycos launches innovative banner ad scheme

Not having a Web site is no bar to ecommerce it seems

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UK portal Lycos is offering companies the chance to trade on the Internet even if they don't have their own Web site, The Register can reveal. Believed to be the first of its kind, the service allows companies -- however small -- to advertise and sell their goods and services on the Web at a fraction of the cost of owning and maintaining their own ecommerce site. Direct Golf -- a company selling reconditioned golf balls -- has already signed up to the scheme and a major catalogue company is on the verge of confirming its interest shortly. Lycos-Bertelsman will officially announce the service later this month. The service works by companies "buying" key words and then targeting ads aimed at anyone searching the Web using those words. For instance, a specialist carpet company may buy "Persian" and "rug". Whenever someone searches the Web using the Lycos site using any of these words, an ecommerce-enabled banner ad will appear with the listings. Anyone clicking on the ad will be able to browse the rugs on offer and buy one there and then. Cash will be paid electronically to Lycos, which in turn, will inform the shop that it has an order before finally passing on the money to the supplier. In trials, Lycos found that that the click rate of these highly targeted ads peaked at 87 per cent before levelling off at around 47 per cent. Traditional banner ads only generate a click through rate of around one or two per cent. ®

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