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FIRM AFFORDS DIRECT CONNECTION TO NET GOODS

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Rush Limbaugh "Ditto-heads" surfing the Internet are being fit to a tie, thanks to a local computer marketing company.

Direct Connect designs home pages on the Internet and provides marketing, cataloging and other advertising opportunities with direct marketing support from 1-800 operators at its sister company, Western Direct, both of Provo.The most popular of Direct Connect's Web site designs is the colorful and surprisingly non-conservative Rush Limbaugh No Boundaries Collection of men's ties and women's scarves, found at (http://www.rushties.com).

According to Direct Connect's Jeff Barrett, during the past seven months more than $500,000 of Rush Limbaugh's first fall collection of ties was sold from the Internet home page and catalog. The new spring/summer line just opened on the Internet.

"Marta Limbaugh (Rush's wife) has been the drive behind the collection," Barrett said. "She designs the ties. They are manufactured (and shipped) by Top Knot, a company out of Salt Lake City."

"This has had a very big impact on us at Direct Connect," Barrett said. Although online cataloging still isn't a successful format overall, for Limbaugh's power ties and Direct Connect it has been a very positive marriage.

"Online ordering hasn't reached its maturity, " Barrett said. "Time will change people's attitudes." Direct Connect is also dedicated to finding more ways to secure credit card numbers and other private information while using the Internet for ordering goods.

The Limbaugh collection is just one of many home pages designed by Direct Connect. According to Barrett, they receive several inquiries a day on home page designs, particularly through their e-mail address. Direct Connect offers an online contract for those wanting home pages and will work with buyers through their e-mail; no need to visit the company in person.

The current Provo city home page, created by Direct Connect, includes opportunities for local motels, restaurants and recreational sites to advertise with the city.

Barrett said the city is also anticipating listing job openings on its home page with online application forms to be sent through e-mail. Barrett said there really are no limits to what can be done.

"What we're hoping is to be the best at marketing on the Internet and our back-up 800 operators (at Western Direct) is what sets us apart," Barrett said. He anticipates the popularity of designing Web site marketing will soon bring about a buying frenzy from large companies.

"In the very near future there will be a lot of buy-outs; a polarization to certain niches," he said.

Whatever happens, for now Direct Connect is making an impact on the World Wide Web and the new age of electronic marketing.