BlueDot Software, a 15-employee, San Francisco-based start-up, beat out some well-established competition when the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association handed out its 1998 Sherlock Award for Web Marketing Excellence. BlueDot, whose EventTools software extends physical trade shows and conferences onto the Internet, edged out a field of 20 companies, including finalists 3Com and US Web, with its Internet site for the American Heart Association's 70th Scientific Session.

The site includes a virtual trade show, exhibitor locator, news and announcements, messaging, and searchable programming. With the latter function, an attendee can search for educational sessions related to bypass surgery, for example, among the 4,000 sessions offered. The program then creates a meeting schedule and shows time conflicts. The AHA Web site exists before and after the November meeting, and during the event it can be accessed via kiosks on the show floor.

BlueDot has created virtual meeting sites for 25 events to date, including meetings for PeopleSoft and Networld Inter-Op. The venture-backed company has been developing its products for three years and late last summer hired its sales and marketing staff. Its most recent product, vMap 1.0, is a Web-based automated floor plan, which allows exhibitors and show management to simplify the booth sales process. For a demonstration of BlueDot's products, visit its home page at