- The Washington Times - Monday, August 28, 2000

Adaboy hopes to become the provider of the next Internet advertising trend. The new company's "targeted message tecnology" puts ads into the texture, or face, of on-line games and virtual environments.
"We refer to each game player as a qualified lead," said Barbara Pearson, director of marketing, Adaboy, Inc. "The advertising displayed to that player is based on their gender and sex, not by the game. Two people, one male, one female, but each playing the game Matrix, is going to see different ads."
An ad can be targeted based on the information provided when the player creates an ID and password, providing their gender, zip code and birth date.
Demographic placement is then enabled when a user registers for free games from the Adaboy Web site (www.adaboy.com) or Adaboy host gaming sites.
Still within its start-up phase, soft deploying in June, the Pittsburgh-based company's distribution arena is limited to gaming sites like Free Play USA (www.freeplayusa.com), Real Games Free (www.realgamesfree.com), Best Women's Game Site (www.realfreegames.com) and the College Free Stuff site (www.collegefreestuff.com).
Advertisers will find this new technology attractive in that its core effectiveness comes from sending and paying for messages that are viewed by individuals meeting specific demographics.
Part of its commitment to advertisers includes providing post-delivery authentication reports including viewer breakouts, length and frequency analyses allowing the advertisers to know which games their demographic plays most.
On line since 1977, Nightclubs.com (www.nightclubs.com) has recently re-released its Web site, adding a new marketing and advertising program that includes Adaboy targeted message technology.
"We have a very specific age demographic of between 18 and 40," said Dave Colson, director of marketing for Nightclubs.Com. "Hitting that demographic with our advertising is very important and well worth what ever money we have to spend on it. It is my experience that with most Internet marketing it is hard to hit such a specific age and location audience and that only 5 to 10 percent of banner advertising reaches the specific group we are aiming for."
Another concern to advertisers is protecting the on-line privacy of their consumer base.
"The end user, the game player or Web site visitor, must be comfortable with the Web site and part of that comfort level is knowing that they are within a responsible and security oriented site," Mr. Colson said.
In addition to helping advertisers find their on-line demographic, Adaboy provides game creators with a new source of revenue.
"Both the shareware, which provides no revenue to the creator, and retail earnings models, which can be quickly outdated, can be less than reliable and highly seasonal for small game developers," said Neil Morrow, manger, sales and promotions for Adaboy. "We are changing the game development cycle away from these models, allowing the games to enjoy ongoing playing and earning power."
As with other Internet companies paving new ground, Adaboy has yet to establish a firm cost per thousand (CPT) for advertisers or commission structure for gamers. But initial plans call for a targeted CPT views charge to the advertiser based on a banner revenue model.
As Adaboy breaks new ground, one of its goals is to change the CPM model to a "return on investment" base, with advertisers paying and gamers receiving revenue based on performance.
However dollars are realized, those dollars are then divided between the game creator, the "host" Web site and Adaboy which expects to take approximately 20 percent.
Hoping to make Adaboy-enabled games the pastime of choice for on-line gamers, the site plans to eventually offer high scorer programs, giveaways, sweepstakes and prizes.
At present, the company continues searching for sites to carry Adaboy-enabled games. In addition to negotiations with a known teen-age girls' site, it also hopes to place Adaboy advertising messages within well-branded game sites and popular virtual mall destinations.
"Adaboy brings something completely new to the on-line advertising arena and there is a learning curve for both the advertisers and the consumer," Mr. Morrow said.
"But we feel we are there at the right time, and that we are the next step for Internet advertising. So while it is slow going we anticipate by the end of the year that the model will be working for us."
Have an interesting site? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Business Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail (joseph@twtmail.com).

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