According to Fred Clarke, CEO at NetSanity, 30 Web sites-including CMP's Techweb Online News, Chipshot.com and MySimon-already have signed up to distribute branded versions of NetSanity's VDA. Additional partner sites being announced today are Go2Net, Individual Investor and Red Herring, among others.
Users can go to any partner site to download the 300K VDA client, which carries that site's brand, but no advertising. Then, they can choose the type of information they want to receive. The VDA features pull-down menus that take users to relevant Web sites within the NetSanity network. Additionally, a window in the toolbar features rotating content, called "pebbles," linking to partner sites.
NetSanity expects the ranks of partners to expand dramatically once sites perceive the benefits. "We're allowing our partners to get a much stronger anchor on PC users' desktops," said Clarke. Normally, a site loses a user's attention when he or she follows a link to another site. NetSanity VDA keeps the partner's brand on the desktop while users surf.
Clarke said the NetSanity VDA differs from other toolbars in allowing for persistent branding on the toolbar itself. It's also more flexible because it's able to deliver continuously updated content.
"What we're providing is a new XML publishing standard for the Internet," said Robert Blechman, president at NetSanity. He said the 30 partners already are publishing in the XML publishing standard.
Clarke said the content comes directly from the partner sites and won't slow down users' connections because the content is retrieved at varying times, and not all at once like so-called "push" technology broadcasts.
Also today, NetSanity announced a second round of financing, led by Nokia Ventures.