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Edmunds.com ads connect shoppers to brands

Those who research a vehicle on the Edmunds.com Web site may see an animated banner ad or slide-show commercial for that vehicle alongside its price and horsepower rating.

Edmunds, the Santa Monica, Calif., online information service, began selling advertising on its Web site this summer. Jeremy Anwyl, COO of Edmunds, said the company has signed up a variety of automakers, including DaimlerChrysler, Lincoln Mercury Division, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. and Nissan North America Inc. for its advertising products.

Edmunds is offering vertical and horizontal banner advertising and special offer links on pages featuring a particular manufacturer or vehicle segment. For instance, if a consumer clicks on the luxury-car page, he or she will see a vertical banner ad for the Lexus IS 300 alongside a complete list of luxury-car models. If the viewer clicks on that Lexus banner, a short ad presentation - using slide-show technology - will appear.

Special offer and special information links can be placed on pages for individual models. Using a slide-show presentation, manufacturers can advertise incentives such as Lincoln's 0.0 percent APR offer on all 2001 models and link the consumer to its manufacturer page for details. It also can offer information on product specifications and generate hand raisers.

Edmunds.com offers special information hot links to manufacturers' sites.Prices for ads on a page range from $50 per thousand exposures for a horizontal banner ad comparing different vehicles to $150 per thousand for a right column, vertical banner ad featuring a particular make, model or type of vehicle. Edmunds also charges automakers between $1.80 to $3.60 per click when consumers link to a brand's pop-up slide-show ads.

Steve Sturm, Toyota's vice president of marketing, believes third-party Web sites are good candidates for the division's advertising because they link potential shoppers to its brand.

"As people work on their decision making on what product they want, they seek other solutions besides just the car (manufacturers') sites," said Sturm, who also advertises on America Online and Microsoft Network's car-buying sites. "We're getting good traffic from them, and because it's the Internet, we can track it."

You can reach Laura Clark Geist at autonews@crain.com

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