Start-Up Brings Advertising to Screen Savers

An upstart Internet company, AdSavers.com, is taking the
rewards-for-viewing-ads model a little closer to the consumer, with a new
product that pays users for downloading and watching rich-media screensavers.


Although companies like MyPoints.com
and FreeRide.com, and even free ISPs
effectively reward users for watching advertising, this is the first firm
to bring such a program to a screen saver.


The company allows consumers to select what products and services they’re
interested in getting information about, and they can bookmark ads to view
later, or send the ad to a friend by e-mail. Only one ad appears each time
the screen saver is activated, and the user must “dismiss” the ad by
clicking on it to return to using the computer.


Users receive “points” for watching ads, and get $10 for every other person
they refer to the program. These points can be converted to cash, donated
to a charity of the user’s choice, or pooled with other users for specific
gifts.


In addition, users are rewarded by occasional “Lucky Savers,” screen savers
that pop up and give people a chance to win cash and prizes.


“We believe that by tailoring our product to the consumer, we’ll generate a
more dynamic relationship between advertisers and their target audiences,
which will translate into higher sales and a more lucrative return on
advertising dollars,” says Shaurav Sen, chief executive officer of AdSavers.com.


“Moreover, we have included some unique features that will guarantee at
least one set of eyeballs for every AdSaver that is placed on our system by
advertisers.”


One possible drawback to this service is the need to execute new creative
especially for this application. To try to remedy that problem,
AdSavers.com has struck a deal with KMGI.com to refer potential advertisers
to the company. Advertisers will be charged based on how many times an ad
is viewed, and on the file size.


The other big challenge, of course, is to get users to sign up and download
the screen savers application. The company hopes a new member of its board
will help in that endeavor. James Glicker, the former Geocities/Yahoo VP of marketing and current “brand
guru” at Flooz.com, signed on this week
to advise AdSavers.


“Since screensavers are currently installed in four out of five computers
and have long been one of the most popular Internet downloads, we
anticipate the rapid acceptance of AdSavers,” says Glicker.


The company is currently in a beta testing period, and expects to
officially launch in February.

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