LookSmart To Build Internal Ad Sales Organization

LookSmart Ltd. in San Francisco, an Internet publishing company providing category-based navigation services, said it would build an in-house sales force to sell advertising products on its LookSmart site.

The decision comes on the heels of the company’s securing a premier search position on Netscape’s Net Search page and closing a second round of funding from Cox Interactive Media and two venture firms last month.

“Given our explosive traffic growth and our unique female-skewed audience, we’ve decided that it’s the right time for us to build our own sales force to represent LookSmart,” said Brian Cowley, LookSmart senior vice president of sales and distribution.

LookSmart said its traffic has grown more than 2000% over the past six months, and the site is now attracting a higher percentage of female visitors than any other search tool on the Internet.

Advertisers can work directly with the expanded sales team to create highly targeted and custom marketing programs on LookSmart, the company said.

Current LookSmart partners include AltaVista, @Home, Compuserve, Netscape, Microsoft, Bigfoot, Desktop News, HotBot, Erols and over 90 ISPs. LookSmart employs a “syndicated distribution” strategy, allowing partners to co-brand with LookSmart’s product or seamlessly blend its content into an existing interface based on its flexible architecture.

DoubleClick, which handled all of LookSmart’s ad sales for the past nine months, will now represent the Web directory in the U.K. and Australia, and handle some of LookSmart’s ad-serving, according to Advertising Age.

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