Briefs

Excite UK has started the online Christmas shopping season with the launch of a dedicated Yuletide shopping channel on its site. The channel (www.excite.co.uk/shopping/) includes an additional guarantee against fraud to boost Christmas shopping through the site. Excite underwrites the first 50 “excess” of any credit or payment card fraud – which is not usually covered by card issuers – for online shoppers dealing with retailers included in Excite’s Certified Merchants Programme.

Carlton Online has signed a deal with Engage Technologies to use its ad management system Accepter AdManager alongside its user-profiling system, Precision Profiling.

MediaTel has appointed three new media developers. Simon Martin from New PHD, Karen Miller from Classic FM and Robin Griffiths from Capital Radio and London Electricity join the company to help service new projects.

Amazon.com is being sued by US retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores over claims that it poached ex-employees in order to exploit their knowledge of Wal-Mart’s coveted Retailink inventory tracking computer system.

Consumer research through the Internet will become commonplace within three to four years, the Research 98 conference was told last week. Austrian-based market researcher Felix Josef says his survey of market researchers worldwide suggests that over a quarter of surveys may be conducted through the Web in the next five years, despite a reluctance to conduct Web-based consumer research at present.

The Whitbread Beer Company launched a Website to support its Murphy’s stout brand on Monday, borrowing from the theme of its new TV ad campaign. “The sistersofmurphys.co.uk site is part of a new 6m campaign that aims to encourage drinkers to view Murphy’s as a young, fun drink,” a spokesman for the brewery said.

InfoSeek, the US Web search brand, is to be downgraded after a joint venture deal with major shareholder Disney. The company is expected to relaunch its portal site service under the GO brand in December, which will borrow heavily from Disney’s existing portfolio of online content. But the InfoSeek brand is expected to survive in some form.

CDNow and N2K, the online music retailers, have confirmed plans to merge. The companies, with a combined customer base of 1.2 million, have an estimated combined market of $250m (156m).

Theglobe.com and Vignette, the US new media companies, have pulled public share offerings, blaming the poor state of the markets for their decisions to remain private and delay raising funds on the stock markets.

US Internet Service Provider Globix has announced it has purchased office space in London’s West End ahead of a UK launch next spring.

Cindy Crawford has launched an official Website (www.cindy.com). The site will market fan club-style merchandise to subscribers. Crawford ranks among the top ten most requested celebrity names on Web search engines.

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