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Salon Offers Bigger Ads

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New, larger ads and an optional $30 annual subscription are a part of Salon's future -- or at least an attempt to secure a future for the San Francisco-based independent online newspaper, the company said Tuesday.

Intel and Lexus are the first two advertisers to use the "Messaging Plus" unit, a 336 x 280-pixel rich-media-compatible rectangle. The ads are currently running on the arts and entertainment section of the site. As to the cost of the ads, "It's a higher-priced, premium unit," said Salon spokesman Patrick Hurley, refusing to specify numbers.

Team One Advertising, Lexus' AOR, is pleased with the ads: "The more real estate you can get, the better. It's tough to build emotional appeal on something the size of a postage stamp," said Paul Ratzky, Team One's director of interactive marketing.

The new $30 annual subscription fee, also announced Tuesday, will allow users to read Salon without ad banners and pop-ups and with additional features. Viewers who don't pay to subscribe can still visit the site and see the stories along with the ads.

Salon, founded in 1995, has struggled in recent months, laying off staff and recently asking its employees to take salary reductions.