Editor's note: To help you make sense of a staggering number of advertising options, Inc. will periodically run a comparison table.

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Quote-unquote: CD-ROM is one of today's hottest interactive media, and "we want to stay in the forefront," says Dave Beazley, director of catalog operations for Doneckers, a $25-million clothing retailer in Ephrata, Pa. So last fall Beazley signed on with the Merchant, a CD-ROM shopper from Magellan Systems (800-561-3114), in Calgary, Alta., Canada. While some might balk at Magellan's stiff new fees, Beazley asserts he's gotten his money's worth. The CD saved him paper and postage costs. And, he says, "we got a lot more orders than we expected."

Vehicle Target Audience Cost
The Merchant CD-ROM catalog Female catalog-shoppers $30,000 to $40,000 per 200,000 CD-ROMs
New York City subway 3.5 million subway riders $75,000 to $95,000 per month 10-car placards per day
Free advertisers' postcards Nightclub, music-store, restaurant, and health-club patrons $2,000 per 20,000 to 25,000 cards
30-minute infomercial Des Moines weekend TV viewers $6,000 to $7,000 per week (for airtime)

Sources: Suppliers, experts, and advertisers. -- Robina A. Gangemi