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Tech publisher making deals

Imagine Media follows the leaders in forming alliances and launching properties with a public relations push.

Net firm Imagine Media, which has fashioned itself as an alternative to larger technology publishers, is beginning to follow the marketing lead of the bigger fish by forming higher-profile alliances and launching properties with a public relations push.

Imagine Radio, the firm's online network of music, news, and talk radio stations it launched in March, today struck a deal with Net music retailer CDnow. Imagine also announced the July 7 launch of the Web home for its upcoming print publication, Business 2.0.

The Brisbane, California-based publisher has cultivated the image of a scrappy, savvy start-up with publications such as Boot and MacAddict, aimed at hard-core technology fans. It set itself apart from its larger, more mainstream competitors such as Ziff-Davis, IDG, and CMP Media; it even uses the domain "" for its online site.

Though the deals the firm is announcing are similar to those made by other Net publishers and media firms, Imagine Digital president Mark Gross said the firm is not changing its core approach.

"What truly makes us different [from other technology publishers] has nothing to do with our marketing relationships. It has to do with the relationship with have with our users, and readers, and listeners," he added. "The marketing relationships aren't a departure from our core principles.

"The day we go from being '' to '' is the day I quit," he joked.

Under the terms of the deal Imagine Radio made with CDnow, the retailer will advertise on Imagine Radio stations as well as on its tuner. Imagine Radio will get a percentage of sales from click-throughs from its tuner, as well as an up-front fee for the advertising, according to an Imagine spokeswoman. Both fees were not disclosed.

The advertising also will involve Imagine Radio's "synchronized multimedia ads," technology that allows audio advertising to correspond with banners, the company said.

Imagine also announced today that it will launch an online effort to go with the July 7 newsstand debut of Business 2.0. The company is pitching the monthly publication at "visionaries with the leadership savvy to engineer new business models" in the digital age.

The Web effort, dubbed Business 2.0: The Network, will be "a consultancy for Business 2.0 readers, offering a network of tools and resources along with detailed, practical advice they can directly apply to their businesses," Chris Anderson, chief executive of Imagine Media, said in a statement.

The network will be run by the firm's chief information architect, Michael Tchong, who also founded the email-delivered Net marketing publication Iconocast, which Imagine acquired in January. Most of the content on the site will be updated weekly, with portions updated daily, an Imagine spokeswoman said.

Business 2.0--both in print and on the Web--is entering a crowded marketplace. Along with long-standing business publications that have updated themselves with Net content and launched Web sites, such as Forbes, there are many other players in the Net business category.

Publications such as Upside, the Red Herring, and the recently launched Industry Standard, among others, all cover business in the Internet era.