Another entry in the pay-for-attention category on the Web is the recently
launched FreeRide, which pays consumers to surf its
ad-packed “Frequent Browser” site.
Launched by advertising agency veterans Jordan Stanley and John Mezzina,
FreeRide brings together on one site a host of national advertisers–each offering consumers a common incentive for browsing and buying.
Customers are rewarded with FreeRide Points–the electronic version of the Frequent Flyer Mileage Points–for every interaction with advertisers both online and off.
FreeRide sponsors’ banners are prominently featured as “destinations” on the
“Instant FreeRide” menu. FreeRide members can redeem their points for things
like free CDs, free movie tickets, and free Net access.
The FreeRide site claims more than 200,000 registered members–60% male and
40% female. Sponsor click-through rates range from 7.5% to 22%, versus the
industry average of 1.5% to 4.5%, the company said, adding that FreeRide
visitors spend about 50 minutes surfing sponsors’ sites, compared to the
average Internet site visit of 7 minutes.
FreeRide’s sponsor roster currently includes more than 240 major companies,
including American Home Products, CDnow, Clairol, HBO, Nabisco, Kraft, Bristol
Myers, Duracell, Johnson & Johnson, NetGrocer, Kodak, Time Inc.
“FreeRiders can earn hundreds of points every month simply for browsing
sponsors’ Web sites; that’s enough points to get free CD’s and movie tickets,”
according to Stanley, president and co-founder of FreeRide. “In the process of
browsing, they often find personal relevance in other sites that they wouldn’t
normally have visited.”