A UK group with experience in hardware distribution plans to launch a free web site to enable corporate IT managers to compare the product and price offerings of competing manufacturers, who in turn will be invited to sponsor more detailed levels of information. The London-based company, IT Network Ltd, plans to launch its service in mid-year, and will start pre-registration of its target readers in the enterprise market in March, according to chief executive officer James Wickes. The comparative price and product information will be free to registered users, the company’s revenues coming from manufacturers or resellers who want to give readers the ability to click on a link for further information. The service, to be found at www.itnetwork.com, will not develop into an e-commerce site Wickes explained, as the strategy is to maintain its independence from individual manufacturers or resellers, in order to guarantee credibility. The sponsors themselves may want to enable our users to click onto their own e-commerce sites, however, he added. IT Network estimates there to be some 100,000-150,000 target users of its service, and will be seeking to register as many of them as possible, in order to make its pitch to potential sources of sponsorship. In its initial phase, the site will carry information on hardware and software offerings, together with some 84 free white papers on different subjects within computing, storage, peripherals, networking and so on. Wickes said the service will be unique in the UK – and more or less in the US too, as he was aware only of sites dedicated to product information for the small office and home user, rather than for corporates. He added that, after consolidating its presence in the UK, IT Network plans to launch similar offerings in Germany and France, probably towards the end of this year.