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Another 'Dot Com' Joins the Fray

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How2HQ Considers Arnold, Others for $15 Mil. Launch Effort
BOSTON--Arnold Communications here is among six semifinalists vying to become the first agency for Dallas-based How2HQ.com, a network of lifestyle and self-help Web sites due to launch next week.
Spending will be $15 million through year's end and is expected to double in 2000, said Allan Steinmetz, who heads Inward Strategic Consulting, Newton, Mass., and is overseeing the search process. Steinmetz will join How2HQ as executive vice president of marketing while maintaining a stake in Inward, which he formed earlier this year [Adweek, Feb. 1]. Steinmetz will hand over operational control of the consultancy to his deputy, Chuck Reilly, and its half-dozen or so staffers.
Competing against Arnold for the How2HQ account are Deutsch, New York; Ground Zero, Santa Monica, Calif.; GSD&M, Austin, Texas; DDB Needham, Dallas; and The Richards Group, Dallas, which is pitching with crosstown shop Pyro. An undisclosed San Francisco agency has yet to accept an invitation to pitch, Steinmetz said.
Three finalists will be named next week and an agency will be hired shortly thereafter, following a round of "chemistry checks," Steinmetz said. No speculative work is required.
The winner will pick up creative chores; it has not been determined whether media duties will also be assigned at this time or reviewed separately.
The client is seeking creative vision and an ability to differentiate the brand from myriad "dot com" startups that have come on the scene of late, said How2HQ founder Steve Solomon, who previously spent three years as chief executive of software firm Citadel Technology in Dallas.
Solomon and Steinmetz are looking for an agency to portray How2HQ as a new breed of Web service, offering multilayered information on a broad range of subjects and providing access to educational opportunities and related products and services worldwide.
How2HQ is organized into a system of channels, allowing consumers to easily search for specific content. The primary channels are How2Play, How2Work, How2Home and How2Shop&Save.
Each channel provides news and editorials available free of charge as well as in-depth tutorials, many of which are sponsored by partner companies. There is a charge for some tutorials, and partner companies also pay fees.
In addition, How2HQ features an e-commerce search engine that lets users purchase products or services related to their topic of interest.