VerticalNet Launches Web Campaign

Horsham, PA-based VerticalNet Inc. is launching a $750,000 Internet-only advertising campaign to build traffic to its sites.

VerticalNet said it has arranged with search engines such as Yahoo, Excite, Lycos and MetaCrawler to “buy” keywords. When users who want specific information about an industry type in these keywords, a banner advertisement for VerticalNet’s industry-specific Web sites appears and users can go there directly.

VerticalNet has a family of 15 industry-specific Web sites in the environmental, utility, process and electronics industries.

The company’s oldest Web site, Water Online is also its biggest, attracting nearly 100,000 visitors a month. At Water Online and other VerticalNet sites, suppliers to the specific industries buy “storefronts”–essentially, an advertising section owned by the supplier. Visitors can see the latest news about their industry, drawn from a variety of newswires and editorial services, and can visit online directories of products and suppliers to locate needed information.

“Our business model is based on building communities of customers, vendors and experts in the industries we serve,” said Mike Hagan, vice president for operations at VerticalNet, and one of the company’s founders. The banners were created by VerticalNet’s own staff of Web designers and programmers.

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