New Web Monitoring Service Debuts

PC Data in Reston, VA is launching a banner ad campaign for a new service called @PCData, a market research tracking service that solicits open public participation which reflects individual computer usage.

PC Data said it is running banner ads on several broad-based, general interest sites and services, such as Lycos and LinkExchange, to encourage participation. Spend8ing was not disclosed.

Information is gathered by the @PCData applet, a free download from the @PCData Web site. The information is compiled into reports for software and Internet companies to track frequently used Web sites and programs, software error messages and typical hardware configurations. Individuals receive incentives and a guarantee of confidentiality in exchange for participation.

“Last year an estimated $1 billion was spent on Internet advertising, but the industry does not have a standard for tracking consumers and their online behavior,” said Ann Stephens, president of PC Data.

“We developed @PCData to address the need for information that is actually reflective of the Web population using real online consumers. We will strive to track the largest number and broadest spectrum of people, which should provide the most reliable data.”

Upon sign-up with @PCData, participants are entered into a contest to win a state-of-the-art computer system, high-speed Internet service or handheld computer.

In addition, each participant can choose from travel awards program miles from American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, or United Airlines; discounted Internet service from a national provider; or an AT&T card good for 180 minutes of long distance calls. Participants who agree to take part in optional surveys receive additional incentives.

The first @PCData reports are expected to be available to subscribers in the fourth quarter of 1998, the company said.

PC Data has been providing point-of-sale data since 1991 and supplies sales information to more than 800 subscribers at software and hardware firms.

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