DoubleClick, the international Internet ad sales house, has launched a German office to strengthen its European presence. DoubleClick Deutschland has signed initial deals with BMG Entertainment, MTV Germany, publishing group Handelsblatt and Heinrich Bauer Verlag. The company says it can also sell German advertisers 20 million impressions per month of German users visiting sites DoubleClick represents around the world.

Infoseek, the search and directory service rival to Yahoo!, Lycos and Excite, has launched an online motor insurance quote service aimed at US customers. The service, launched through InsWeb insurance broker, offers quotes from a panel of 13 major US insurers.

AOL UK has struck a deal with ABC//electronic to provide audited traffic data to its advertisers. This follows a similar deal recently struck between AOL in the US and ABC Interactive.

Virgin Records has recorded traffic of 5.5 million page impressions on its Website ( over the month of June. The site audit, conducted by ABC //electronic, reveals the site attracted 436,257 users and 742,695 visits during the same period.

Only four per cent of top UK companies investing in developing Websites believe that their initial investment will be recouped, according to a survey of 150 Times 500 companies conducted by Telecoms Marketing Update. However, most companies view Web investment as valuable research and development, with 43 per cent of respondents agreeing that e-commerce will ultimately play a larger role in their overall marketing mix.

US record companies have reacted angrily to the release of a personal hi-fi device capable of playing pirated musical tracks downloaded from the Internet. Diamond Multimedia is marketing the Walkman-style device, capable of playing up to 60 minutes of “MP3” audio, which approaches CD quality. The company is reported to be planning to market the player in the UK. The Recording Industry Association of America has attacked the devices as being primarily designed to allow “unauthorised playback” of copyrighted music.

Bob Pittman, president of the world’s largest online service provider AOL, claims that the company can attract half of all US newcomers on the Internet over the coming year. Currently, the operator controls 15 million of the estimated market of 23 million US online households.

Online grocery sales will represent less than two per cent of the market for consumer packaged goods in the US by the year 2003, according to a report released by Forrester Research. The report is cautious about the growth of online shopping despite the aggressive stance taken by operators such as Peapod and NetGrocer in promoting online grocer sales.

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