RealTime IT News

Switchboard.com Debuts Ad-Clicking Contest

Online yellow page and directory CBS Switchboard.com launched a sweepstakes designed to boost ad clickthroughs on its site, the company said this week.

Through the contest, run by Wynnewood, Penn.-based promotion marketer RealTIME Media, participants earn entries into a $25,000 sweepstakes by clicking on banner ads that appear in search results.

Users can also win chances at instant-win contests or entries into the sweepstakes by registering for weekly e-mail newsletters, or by signing up friends to the service. Instant-win prizes include trips, PDAs and other electronics, and gift certificates.

Online marketers have often relied on sweepstakes to boost site traffic and registrations, while contests to incentivize clickthroughs are less widely seen. Still, Westboro, Mass.-based Switchboard said the "It Pays to Use Switchboard.com" promotion also will help boost users' awareness of the site's local merchant advertisers.

"Creating programs that drive consumer traffic to our local merchant network is a major focus of our marketing efforts," said Elaine Haney, vice president of marketing and operations for the site's parent, Switchboard, Inc. "This sweepstakes enhances the value of the Switchboard experience for our users, increasing usage and loyalty, which will ultimately add value for our merchant advertisers."

Earlier this month, Switchboard reached a deal with America Online to provide AOL with a platform to sell and display local merchants' business listings and ads.