IBM Ramps Up E-Commerce

IBM said Barnes & and Fragrance.Counter will use its new HotMedia software tool to speed delivery of animated banner ads to Web surfers.

Separately, IBM (IBM) said it consolidated its roughly $100 million Internet marketing account to six agencies from 60 after an extensive review.

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The announcements came at the Ad Tech conference in New York Monday.

The shops are True North (TNO) units RG/A Interactive, Modem Media.Poppe Tyson; WPP Group (WPPGY) unit Ogilvy Interactive, Think New Ideas (THNK); Strategic Interactive Group; and Studio Archetype.

The agencies were chosen "based on their global and regional reach, and their capabilities in user experience, brand management, digital branding, and interactive advertising," the company said. IBM shares rose 1 1/2 to 143 1/16 Monday.

With HotMedia, IBM says it will be easier for Web surfers using conventional modems to see advertisements and plug-in programs that use "rich media"such as animated images.

IBM said HotMedia uses the java programming language and takes very little capacity. The technology lets ad agencies dress up banner ads with panning and scrolling images, zoomable images, interactive pictures and other goodies that make the ads more eye-catching.

Online ad agency Organic Media is using the technology for upcoming ad campaigns for clients Barnes & (BKS), which will advertise on Time Warner's (TWX) Pathfinder Web sites; and the Fragrance.Counter's campaign on Lycos (LCOS) and Yahoo! (YHOO).

IBM said Web surfers are up to ten times more likely to click on rich media ads than on traditional banner ads.

IBM is also working to incorporate HotMedia with multi media software by Narrative Communications Corp. and RealNetworks (RNWK), both of which specialize in sound and video on the Web.

IBM developed HotMedia in a partnership with Sun Microsystems (SUNW).

Written By Steve Gelsi