Slate Redesign Integrates Ads With Content

Microsoft’s Slate online magazine, which recently
switched to a free, ad-backed business model, unveiled site enhancements that
include more intuitive navigation, integration of new ad elements and better
integration with MSN.com.

The site now offers advertisers additional ad space via sponsorship hot links
at the top of sponsored stories and column ads in story margins, as well as
the traditional banner ads at the top of Slate editorial pages.

Slate also launched a promotional “Win What Matters” sweepstakes and said it
signed seven new advertisers: Audible Inc.; Brooks Brothers; barnesandnoble.com; First USA; OnHealth.com; The People for the Ethical Treatment
of Animals (PETA); and Starwood Vacations, the vacation program of Starwood
Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Slate’s enhanced site design now lets readers choose among two alternative
views of Slate contents–New Today or Complete. New Today lists stories
published within the previous 24 hours. Complete lists all the current week’s
stories.

In addition to the free content available to any site visitor, Slate
continues to offer a premium paid subscription that includes e-mail delivery
of popular columns and features such as Today’s Papers, access to almost
three years of Slate archived content, and The Fray, Slate’s community forum.

Despite switching to a free content model, Slate said it has increased total
paid subscribers since the switch in February to a level approaching 30,000.

Throughout the 33-day sweepstakes promotion, which ends June 11, Slate will
give away a total of 660 gift certificates. Starwood Vacations is providing
travel and accommodations to the Grand Prize winners. To advertise the
sweepstakes, Slate is spending $300,000 on an online advertising campaign
created by Quantum Leap Communications Inc.

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