IAR Bits and Bytes

Engage Debuts PromoPlanner 2.0

Andover, Mass.-based online ad and media technology player Engage has taken the wraps off the beta program for the new version of its PromoPlanner technology.

Aimed at retailers, catalogers and manufacturers, PromoPlanner is a page-layout and ad-building tool used for importing a marketer’s graphic and text assets and creating ads in multiple media.

The new version, PromoPlanner 2.0, offers enhancements designed to bring higher volumes of targeted, cross-channel promotions to market faster. Improvements include a revamped interface; more powerful auto-building of targeted Web pages; enterprise-wide Web previews of product information and page proofs for approval; product and ad preflight reports; and XML support — for linking with other programs.

PromoPlanner 2.0 also will feature closer integration with Adobe InDesign 2.0, a page layout and design application.

The product also is now J2EE-ready and is built on Java distributed architecture, enabling enterprise application integration and streamlined cross-platform use.

With the new release, Engage also said it planned to make PromoPlanner available as a standalone purchase, in addition to selling it as part of the Engage for Retailers advertising production system.

The news comes as Engage is looking to bounce back in the advertising and publishing technology fields. The company earlier this week announced that it had parted ways with parent company CMGI and lessened its immediate debt load as a result.

Dutch ISP to Support Habeas

Amsterdam-based ISP Villa Hosting will join Outblaze, Microsoft TV and other Internet Service Providers in adding filter support for Habeas’ new anti-spam product.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Habeas’ new Sender Warranted E-mail service aims to curb spam by embedding trademarked work — specifically, a haiku — in the header of legitimate emailings. Mail without the header could be considered suspect, while spammers misappropriating the header for their own use could face a number of legal challenges.

Press release-distribution EuropePR will be the first European customer using Habeas’ mark, the companies said.

“Our extensive [email] filters have increasingly been tagging opt-in mailing lists and commercial emails as spam due to the fact that these emails contain a lot of characteristics that are also present in spam messages,” said Villa Hosting spokesman John Caspers. “Obviously we do not want to decrease the effectiveness of legitimate commercial email. With Habeas SWE, we hope to have found a way to effectively distinguish spam from legitimate commercial email and mailing lists.”

FusionQuest Launches Affiliate Solution

Salt Lake City-based FusionQuest is rolling out its third-party affiliate tracking solution, with an eye to addressing what it believes are a number of shortcomings in the sector.

For one thing, typical links provided by third-party affiliate tracking providers don’t contain the domain name of the merchant’s Web site — which FusionQuest said results in a missed branding opportunity for the advertiser. Additionally, affiliate links often are long, unwieldy and unmemorable — making offline promotion impractical.

FusionQuest’s new UltraLinks technology is designed to curb these problems by providing for simpler affiliate links, using the format www.yourdomain.com/?affiliateID.

In addition, UltraLinks avoids multiple directories, redirects and query strings — which can confuse search engines that analyze link popularity, thereby not contributing to a merchant’s higher ranking.

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