The Journal News from White Plains, New York on January 29, 2001 · Page 30
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The Journal News from White Plains, New York · Page 30

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Monday, January 29, 2001
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www.thejournalnews.com 2D Monday, January 29, 2001 The Journal News r From Pass One DILBERT By Scott Adams YOUR STOCK WILL RISE IF STOCK ANALYST SAYS GOOD THINGS ABOUT YOUR COrAPANY. Web advertisers study ways to catch your wandering eye Adam Geller The Associated Press NEW YORK An ad for Yahoo . Movies! lounged just to the right of Richard Ryant's forehead, beckoning for his attention. Down at the bottom of his computer screen, an ad for online shopping site DealTtme.com unfurled repeatedly, soliciting a click of Ryant's mouse. But Ryant steered his eyes past both ads and focused on the middle of the screen, leaning forward as he plotted his next move in an online backgammon match with an unseen opponent named Ste-fano 305. "I pay attention, but sometimes it gets annoying," Ryant said of the Internet ads flirting with him nonstop throughout an afternoon at a Times Square cybercafe. "Especially if you click on to one ad (to eliminate it from the screen), sometimes several others will pop up automatically." It is people like Ryant who have spurred a growing school of researchers to probe how consumers digest Internet advertising. Early research results indicate many people ignore static ads, but they also offer hints of what may work in the future. ' "People don't know how effective ads are and there are so many different ways of advertising. They don't know which ones work best," said David Lane, a Rice University professor who supervised research on whether people are blind to banner ads. Internet advertising has been subject to intense scrutiny of late. During the third quarter of 2000, it experienced its first-ever dip in revenues. Meantime, click-through rates, once touted as the best gauge of banner ad effective-' ness, continue to decline. The doubts about online adver-' using raise flags for sites networks like Yahoo!, which sharply lowered its earnings forecast last month, in large part due to a drop in ad spending by dot-coms. So what shape will future Internet advertising take? The Web is young. Businesses are still trying to figure out how best to use it to promote their wares. The riddle intrigues scholars. Researchers at Indiana University seated 40 students in front of computers last spring and stuck electrodes to their forearms. The instruments gauged changes in . heart rate and sweat glands elicited by banner ads. A Stanford University-based team mounted eye-tracking headgear on people in Chicago and Florida to study where they focused while reading online news sites, including when and for how long they looked at ads. At the University of Wales in ' the United Kingdom, professors showed people ads sandwiched ' between flashed images of saucer-eyed puppies and hairy spiders. The idea was to see if ad percep-' tion is influenced by the material that surrounds it All three experiments are part of a broad effort, largely independent of the advertising busi-' ness, to figure out how Internet ads are perceived and can be ' made more effective. "The reality is there's so much subconsciously that goes on with the eyes," said Greg Edwards, who worked on the Stanford study and has since founded a research firm, Eyetools, to monitor response to ads by tracking eye . movements. "We're getting this view into people's heads that they Cannot even express themselves." Gum makers GUM, from 10 to play up gum as a dietary aid that can boost digestion and help with weight loss. Arm & Hammer and GlaxoSmithKline Beecham, both big toothpaste makers, are also in . the dental gum market, and some : supermarket and drugstore chains have their own store brands. . "The margin and potential can be quite large," Kenter said. "For 1 a period of time gum sales effectively were flat domestically, but if I look at gum over the past year, volumes are up about 7.5 percent, sales about 10 percent" Marie Read, associate snack buyer for the 500-store Wawa Food Markets based in Wawa, Pa., says Advantage is so far its best-selk'ng dental gum. Read thinks customers are responding to its HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? ONE LOORD: WEASELS. r . r ? -0 rft K The Associated Press file photo People access the Internet at the Everything Internet Cafe In New York's Times Square. The preliminary results of research into how people respond to online advertising are no surprise: People try to ignore it. And that is prompting online advertisers to test novel, more dynamic ways to reach us. Some things researchers found are surprising, and many findings conflict For example, research at Rice suggested that many Internet surfers largely disregard banner ads. That finding lead researcher Jan Benway, a graduate student, to coin the term "banner blindness" in 1998. Some more recent studies at least partially back that conclusion. At Indiana, researchers expected computer users to respond to banner ads much as people do to television ads with minute changes in heart rate that indicate mental stimulus. Instead, students tested last year showed no response when static banner ads appeared on a screen of type. It was only when animated ads appeared that the electrodes registered a response. Other findings further cloud the picture. The work at Stanford, looking at how viewers digested online newspaper sites, found that people's eyes first went to text and ignored graphics and ads. But Internet readers eventually looked at 45 percent of the banner ads, settling on them for an average of one second. Internet advertising executives insist banner ads are effective and dismiss the second-guessing. "Internet advertising works. The Internet works," said Richy Glassberg, vice chairman of the Internet Advertising Bureau and CEO of online ad marketer Phase2Media. "This is a new medium and everybody has held this to a standard that's unattainable." But others say much current Internet advertising is failing to reach consumers. That is prompting advertisers to try new tools like the pop-up ads known as interstitials and rich media, which brings motion picture emphasize health rewards advertised benefits. "If they realize how much they're paying for it I would hope that that's why they're buying it" Read said. While the American Dental Association has yet to stamp its approval on the gums, Dr. Kenneth Burrell, director of the ADA's Council on Scientific Affairs, says there may be something to Recaldent's remineral-ization premise, but testing needs to be done. Maryann Jordan, a 56-year-old computer consultant from Pittsburgh, is loyal to the first of the dental gums Arm & Hammer Dental Care. She buys it in packs of three from Wal-Mart and uses coupons whenever she can. With Arm & Hammer Dental Care, manufacturer Church & Dwight entered the gum market I JUST FOUND MY NEW PICK-AND-SHOVEL CORE HOLDING. 1 A Ttivir- s ..... i r attributes to computer ads. "I think one of the things that needs to happen is that advertising agencies and the people they work with are going to have to take a step back and see what works," said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services for . NetRatings, which measures Internet audience. That means looking for something that reaches people more forcefully than a banner ad, said Richard Hopple, chairman and CEO of Unicast Communications. Unicast is pushing a new ad format called a "superstitiaL" which loads itself unseen into a computer's temporary memory while a consumer is viewing a Web page and appears instantly when the person clicks to another page on the same site. The 20-second ads, already in use by companies like Absolut Vodka and Taco Bell, have a highly produced quality nearing that of television commercials. They are timed to appear in much the way ads on television show up between program segments, but can be nixed from the screen with a click of the mouse. Major advertisers say they're also trying to zero in on what works, going beyond banner ads, and taking a broader approach to capture consumers' attention. Coca-Cola, for example, is running an ad campaign in Great Britain that encourages consumers to go to a company Web site replete with merchandise that can be bought only with points collected through product purchases. The Internet "is part of our consumers' lives and so we need to be there. I think that we're trying to determine how do you take advantage of what's special about the online environment," said Kari Bjorhus, director of interactive communication for Coca-Cola. "That a process of experimentation." with a product designed to match its baking soda-based toothpaste of the same name. In 2000, retail sales for the gum were about $100 million, more than double a year earlier. "I use baking soda for a lot of other things as a cleaning product that won't scratch like a cleanser, to get rid of smells in the fridge ... it seemed like a natural thing for a gum," she said. Now, she chews clandestinely after lunch, in the car, before seeing clients. "I really don't think chewing gum is very attractive," she said. But something seems to be working. "My dentist says my teeth are in very good shape, and I used to have problems," Jordan said. "But it could be due to the electric toothbrush." "A s& 1 I Brazilian Alessandra Losciale Knight Ridder Newspapers MIAMI What started as food for homesick Brazilians is evolving into a growing business. Brazilian foods such as guarana, chocolates and heart of palms first started showing up in the few Brazilian stores in Florida, Massachusetts and New York. Later, the hipper among us began eating at off-beat Brazilian restaurants and shopping at the proliferating Brazilian supermarkets. Now, Brazilian foods have crossed the commercial divide. The foods are entering the mainstream via supermarkets like Pub-lix and Winn-Dixie. Many Brazilian sellers have introduced their products into the U.S. market in the past six months, hoping that Brazilian foods will become as popular as its bossa nova music. One importer, International Specialty Co. of Deerfield Beach, Fla., distributed 7,000 products last year and tripled its sales. The company, which distributes Brazilian foods in almost every state, expects to increase its sales by more than 100 percent next year. "People are learning to eat products from Brazil," said Newton Carpintero, marketing and sales consultant for the company. "When people try it they go crazy for if Brazilian foods have the same appeal to U.S. consumers as health foods, said Mauro Couto, Markets convert to decimals DECIMAL, from 10 "Spreads, if competitively set, instead of artificially through fractions, will find the right level," said Steven M.H. Wallman, a former SEC commissioner who was an early advocate of decimalization. Analysis of the pilot runs at the NYSE turned up "about a 20 percent decrease in spreads," said Robert Britz, executive vice president of the NYSE's equities group. "And intuitively, if there are 100 price points as opposed to 16, there is at least an opportunity for a greater reduction in spreads." But the increase in price points can have another effect as well: a reduction in depth, or the number of shares offered at each price, noted University of Memphis finance Professor Robert A. Wood, co-author of a study on the trial runs at the NYSE and Amex. This phenomenon has two potential effects, both of which could be problematic. "Institutions are saying where they normally complete a trade with two to three transactions, it is taking 10 to 15 because there is not as much liquidity at each penny," said Lee Korins, president of the Security Traders Association. Builders challenge tax assumptions BUILDERS, from ID sor in Greenburgh, said housing development generally brings new burdens and no evidence of tax rebel He said overcrowding is a problem in some schools within his town, not to mention extra expense for expanding police departments and services ranging from leaf collection to snow removal. "Communities shouldn't say no to everything," Feiner said. "We won't approve every project and we won't reject every project" Robert Meehan, town supervisor for Mount Pleasant, also said he's not convinced that new housing lowers the tax burden, despite the studies. "Development has to be at a controlled and moderate pace so that services can be maintained at adequate levels," Meehan said. Steve McCulloch knows first hand about the county's housing crunch at HoulihanParnes, a real estate company with 45 employees in Scarsdale. Some employees drive an hour and half daily from Dutchess County. Others take the Calendar Today Community Support for Employment Transition, 7:30 p.m. Larchmont Avenue Church. Information: Daniel Reil-Iyat914-63fr6542. Tomorrow ROCKMUQ Macintosh Users Group, 7 p.m. New City Public Library. Information: Dick Price at 845-354-6222. Wednesday International Coach Federation, WestchesterRockland chapter, 6:30 p.m. "Coach Yourself to Success." Ta-lane Miedander. Rudy's Beau Rivage, Dobbs Ferry. Information: Freda Kreiner at 914-352-00001. Yonkers Public Library, Westchester Library System, 9:30 a.m. Free professional career counseling. Getty Square branch. Information: 914-476-1255. Independent Computer Consultants foods go mainstream "People are learning to eat products from Brazil. When people try it, they go crazy for it" Newton Carpintero Brazilian importer director of the Brazilian trade promotion bureau in Miami. The hearts of palms are organic, for example, and the meat has no hormones. While Brazilian food is filled with tropical flavors plantain chips, cashew juice, guava paste it has all natural ingredients and little sugar. Even the chocolate is richer tasting, because it has more cocoa and less fat Couto said. "In Brazil we spend a lot of time outdoors, and we're very concerned with our body, so we consume healthy foods, a lot of orange juice, mango, papaya," he said. "Brazilian food is a healthy alternative." With the U.S. natural food industry growing faster than the rest of the food business, Brazilian sellers see a bright future. Brazilian distributors recently introduced an assortment of goods: Jandala Juices: all natural fruit drinks with flavors such as cashew, acerola and passion fruit Coconut water a mildly sweet clear liquid found in coconuts, which helps prevent a hangover "We're seeing a permanent withdrawal of liquidity from the marketplace, and this will result in a more volatile market," said Daniel Weaver, associate professor of finance at Baruch College in New York. "On the institutional side, we will see a tremendous increase in the cost of doing business ... it takes longer to complete an order," said Weaver, who has researched decimalization. Mom-and-pop investors should have less of a problem because their orders are smaller, but even they may need multiple transactions at differing price points to fill an order. As a result they will need to keep more detailed records for tax purposes, Sommerfield said. The proliferation of price points also is expected to translate into heavier message traffic running from the exchanges to the data vendors to the brokerages, and back again. And all the parties have been ramping up capacity in anticipation of a surge. "Will the systems be adequate? That's the $60 million question," said Jeff Wells, senior vice president of product development at Bridge Information Services. In the pessimistic camp, Woods thinks the potential exists for mas bus from the Bronx because they can't afford Westchester. He worries that unless something is done, Westchester's economy will suffer, particularly if companies pull out and relocate to cheaper areas. "When we talk with companies in the area, we hear that affordable housing is an issue over and over," said McCulloch, the president of the building institute. "People have the right to live in the community where they work rather than have to put up with a 90-minute commute." The pace of residential construction has slowed dramatically. The last two years, about 2,000 housing units were built in Westchester annually, down from 5,000 units a year in the early 1980s. The builders institute joined the County Chamber of Commerce in paying for the studies looking at the relationship between housing development and school property taxes. The study by RH Consulting looked at 17 recently completed housing developments, including 659 apartments, 303 town- Association, WestchesterFairfield Chapter, 6 p.m. Manero's Restaurant Steamboat Road, Greenwich. Information: 8004564630. International Coach Federation, WestchesterRockland chapter, 6:30 p.m. "Coach Yourself to Success." Ta-lane Miedander. Rudy's Beau Rivage, Dobbs Ferry. Information: Freda Kreiner at 914-35200001. Ongoing Service Corps of Retired Executives, Free counseling. SUNY Purchase College, Anderson Hill Road, Adult Education Department Information: 914-251-6514; New York State Department of Labor offices, 120 Bloomingdale Road, White Plains. Wednesday workshop, 1 to 3 p.m. Information: 914-948-3907; Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester, 351 Main St, Mount Kisco. Information: 914-666-8069; Chamber of Commerce, 53 Valentine St, Mount Vernon. Information: 914-667-7500; New Rochelle Chamber of by keeping the body hydrated, which is being imported by Sack-el Corp., of Pompano Beach, Fla. Not all Brazilian goods are novelties. Some have been in the American market for three decades. U.S. distributors say guarana, a natural high-caffeine soda made from an Amazonian plant, sells so briskly that it's hard to keep in stock. Cashaca, a strong spirit made from cane sugar, has become a hot commodity as the main ingredient in caipirinhas, a cocktail made with cashaca lemon, crushed ice, sugar. "The most popular drink here is caipirinha," said Johnyelsi Cardenas, a bartender at South Beach's Tequila Blue. "Americans want to try it because it's different" In Florida, there are more than 50 Brazilian supermarkets, while in the New York City area there are more than 200. "Every day there's more people that are interested and we have more clients," said Maura Kaniski who opened a Brazilian store in Pembroke Pines, Fla. Brazilian food lovers say they're happy that more products are being imported. Sitting at a table at Via Brasil, a Miami Beach restaurant Elza Mello, 68, says she eats Brazilian at least three times a month. "Now we have many places where we can buy Brazilian food. Before, there weren't any," she said. "I like to taste a piece of my country." sive gridlock in times of peak volume. "There are a lot of places where the system can get plugged up," he said. Somewhat less concerned is Leo McBlain, a member of the decimalization steering committee for the Securities Industry Association. The exchanges and data vendors are in pretty good shape, said McBlain, who also is vice president for product management at Automatic Data Processing Inc., which serves the brokerage industry. Harder to gauge is the level of readiness at the myriad brokerage offices scattered around the nation, he said. But many are preparing by installing mechanisms to filter out traffic from the options markets, "because (that) traffic is so great and there is limited interest particularly at the retail level," he said. - The move toward decimaliza-, tion will wrap up with the Nasdaq ' market which will start pilot tests on March 12 and fully convert April 9, a tight timetable that has some observers on edge. "Take a deep breath," advised Scott Peterson, spokesman for the Nasdaq. "Everything is going to be fine." homes and 200 single-family homes in 13 municipalities. The report found that the 12 market-rate developments generated a $950 surplus per unit in school taxes. Units classified as affordable housing had a property tax deficit of $1,325 a unit Despite that deficit, the report found that communities can neutralize it with a carefully planned mix of affordable and market-rate housing. The second study by Spitznas found that communities that built more homes generally had a smaller tax increase. North Salem, for example, saw only a 2.6 percent jump in school taxes from 1991 to 1999, one of the smallest in the county. At the same time, the community saw a relatively big increase in home construction compared to other communities building permits equal to 6.8 percent of its housing stock. On the other hand, Mount Pleasant had one of the biggest jumps in school property tax burden 18.4 percent but saw relatively fewer homes built equivalent to 3.2 percent of its housing stock. Commerce, 459 Main St Information: 914-632-5700; PeekskillCortlandt Chamber of Commerce, 1 S. Division St, Peekskill. Information: 914-737-3600; Chamber of Commerce, 30 State St, Ossining. Information: 914-941-0009; Chamber of Commerce, 20 S. Broadway, Room 1207, Yonkers. Information: 914-963-0332; Room 200 A, BOCES Resource Center, 131 Midland Ave. N., Nyack. Information: 845-353-2936. New York State Small Business Development Center, Free counseling. Weekdays. Rockland Community College. Information: 845-3560370. Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry and White Plains campuses. Information: Christina Cashin at 914-674-7485. The business calendar is compiled by Joe Walsh. Information should be submitted to him at The Journal News, Business News Department, 1 Gannett Drive, White Plains, N.Y. 10604, or you may fax him at 914-694-5018.

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