Reed Business Information is to launch Reed Connect on April 16, a free Internet access service with free e-mail facilities and Web space, accessed through an RBI-magazine branded portal site. The 1998 Banner Survey indicated that 17 per cent of RBI’s customers plan to go online this year, leading RBI to calculate a potential market of between 70,000 and 200,000 subscribers. The initial services will be: newscientist.net; estatesgazette.net; computerweekly.net and farmers weekly.net.

Conduit Business Information has surveyed the top 20,000 UK companies (selected by turnover). The survey revealed that 75 per cent have an Internet connection, 79 per cent are using e-mail, 59 per cent have their own Website and nine per cent are trading on the Internet.

24/7 Media Europe, the global online ad sales company, says that the online advertising industry in France has trebled since December and it is aggressively expanding its French operations under the guidance of former sales director, Pascal Gayat. The company is moving to larger offices, engaging new staff and has formalised contracts with three new sites, generating over 3,000,000 monthly impressions. Other contracts are also due for completion.

QXL (www.qxl.com), the online auction company, is to create an affiliate programme allowing European Websites and online businesses to make money from online auctions. Small e-commerce sites, including those selling collectibles such as coins or stamps, can use the new system to integrate an e-commerce dimension into their sites. Participants will be rewarded on a pay-for-performance model or on delivered traffic.

Microsoft has launched Internet Explorer 5. As with previous versions, the browser/communication package is free to download (www.eu.microsoft.com/ie).

Associated New Media (ANM), the new media division of Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), is hoping to drive significant additional traffic to its “This is London” online city guide by creating a branded link (www.metro.thisislondon.com) for readers of DMGT’s new morning newspaper, London Metro, which targets the capital’s affluent professional commuters. ANM has also announced an agreement with Freeserve, giving visitors to www.freeserve.net access to co-branded versions of UK Plus and Soccernet.

AOL has offered free connection for all of Europe’s national and EU politicians to either AOL or CompuServe, in an effort to highlight policy-makers’ awareness of the Internet. Under AOL’s new multiple-brand strategy, these are to be developed as major portal sites addressing separate home and business markets.

In last week’s edition we stated that the audited monthly figure for the Top Jobs on the Net Website is “over 329,000 page impressions”. It should have read, “over 329,000 visitors (1.5 million page impressions)”.

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