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Amicada Signs First Publisher

Rich media ad firm Amicada signed its first publisher this week in an effort that supporters of Web advertising are hoping pans out as a way to attract traditional advertisers.

Fort Lee, N.J.-based Amicada signed Alley-based Web incentives firm Blink.com to host ads using its streaming media spots. Amicada repurposes advertisers' existing TV spots for the Web, and rewards users for watching the spots.

The company promises advertisers that users will attentively watch full-screen, full-motion TV commercials on the Web. (The Amicada application requires that users click on a button seconds after an ad finishes playing, ensuring that users remain at the computer and watch it fully.)

Similarly, the company promotes its ads to publishers because of the potential to attract high-paying traditional clients.

Blink.com offers rewards to users who click on affiliates' sites and sign up for advertisers' deals. It also offers to host users' Web browser bookmarks, allowing members to access them from any PC, and sells standard banner ads to support the service.

"Because advertising is one of Blink's revenue sources, we're concerned about the current advertising slowdown," said Blink founder and chief operating officer Ari Paparo. "Compared with current online advertising techniques such as banners, animation and streaming video, Amicada's technology puts the oomph back into online advertising."

Like other rich media firms, Amicada's proposition is that traditional advertisers will flock to its solution because it offers repurposed TV spots (with acknowledged branding potential -- at least compared to Web banners) for cheaper than the cost of developing Web-specific ads.

"The agreement with Blink is an endorsement of Amicada's approach and of the emerging consensus that full-screen, full-motion video will become the main medium of choice on the Internet for advertisers who wish to build brands," said Amicada president and chief executive E. Ted Prince. "It is cheaper to use our approach than to use banners or animation and this realization is going to revolutionize the world of online advertising."

Already Amicada has signed Unilever to its client list, but declines to discuss any other companies on board -- though it said it also has at least nine other "leading advertisers and their agencies" on its roster.

At any rate, the deal potentially will give Unilever access to the eyeballs of Blink's one million reported registered members, who view about 6 million pages per month.