RealTime IT News

Juno Teams Up With Barnes & Noble Unit

Juno Online Services, Inc., in a new strategy to capture more consumer attention, launched its co-marketing campaign Thursday with video game and entertainment software retailer Babbage's Etc.

Babbage's, a division of e-tailer Barnes & Noble, Inc. , has more than 950 stores located in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. It operates two Web sites, GameStop and FuncoLand, which together have more than 200,000 monthly subscribers.

The third largest Internet service provider, with more than 3.38 million active subscribers, is hoping to entice online game enthusiasts, giving them a customized start page with the latest gaming news, reviews and product offers from Babbage's.

Juno made its mark in the Internet industry offering dial up Internet access for free to bring in interested customers, then upgrading them to its paid, premium services. It has about 11 million total registered customers. Until recently, the company has focused its marketing strategy exclusively with the Juno name.

Charles Ardai, Juno president and chief executive officer, said the promotion will introduce Juno to a dedicated group of individuals.

"Working with Babbage's Etc. is a terrific way to introduce a large and passionate group of computer users to Juno," Ardai said. "The Internet is transforming the world of computer games and gamers are an important part of our audience, which makes this relationship particularly suitable for both companies."

To get ready for the promotion, Babbage's officials had its employees undergo "extensive" training and are fully knowledgeable in the latest game releases and hardware, as well as the services available through Juno.

John Woodson, Babbage's Internet division president, said the promotion is a great way for its loyal customers to keep in touch with company.

"Our alliance with Juno helps our customers fuel their passion by allowing them free access to play games online or keep up with the latest gaming news, hints, cheats and hot new product releases," Woodson said. "This new venture will also enable us to reach out to our valued and loyal customers, even when they're not visiting our stores or shopping on our site."

Gary Baker, Juno spokesperson, said the promotion is the first in a series of co-marketing promotions the ISP plans to launch in the coming weeks.

There is some concern over Juno's inaugural selection for the co-branded launch. While the idea of fee Internet access is appealing to many, online gaming enthusiasts might not take a fancy to an intrusive ad banner blocking their view, whether it's floating free or docked to the top or bottom of the monitor display. Baker said Juno is aware of the concern and is working to find a solution that satisfies all parties.