EarthLink Advertises Spam, Pop-Up Blockers

EarthLink began a new ad campaign this past weekend to build awareness of the steps it has taken to address consumers’ two biggest Internet-related headaches: spam and pop-up ads.

In a new campaign launched Sept. 13, EarthLink touts its focus on blocking out whatever annoys its customers. The TV spots feature testimonials from customers who have used EarthLink’s array of tools to fight off unsolicited email and pop-ups. The spots feature the tagline, “EarthLink Revolves Around You.”

“[This] is the next step for us,” said Karen Gough, EarthLink’s executive vice president of marketing. “The ads are about our customers, highlighting how features like spamBlocker and Pop-Up Blocker help remove the hassles from the Internet.”

College football will anchor the TV ad campaign. In addition to commercial spots, EarthLink and CBS Sports signed a marketing agreement for the ISP to sponsor the halftime show during each week’s college football game.

The agreement also calls for EarthLink, the No. 3 ISP with 5 million subscribers, to sponsor an “EarthLink Block of the Day” feature during the second half of each game, highlighting an impressive block and the player behind it. CBS SportsLine.com will also carry the feature.

In the past year, EarthLink has rolled out a number of tools to help customers control their Internet experience. The company has been at the forefront on the spam fight, filing suits against a number of spammers and giving users tools to control their own in-boxes. In its most aggressive step to give users’ control, EarthLink in May became the first ISP to offer a challenge-response system that only lets through email from senders either in the user’s address book or with whom he has previously corresponded.

In August 2002, EarthLinkrolled out Pop-Up Blocker, a browser-based application powered by Salt Lake City-based FailSafe Technologies. The company then took rival AOL to task for banning third-party pop-ups from its services while still serving up its own.

EarthLink complemented these pop-up efforts in May with a rich media blocker that turns off Flash, disabling most rich media ads while also hindering the navigation of some sites that depend on Flash.

In the fall, the company plans to roll out another tool: a spyware removal application to rid a user’s computer of unwanted programs.

The ad campaign has separate TV spots highlighting EarthLink’s spam and pop-up controls, in addition to spots devoted to its parental controls. A fourth spot will push EarthLink Accelerator, the ISP’s higher-speed dial-up option.

EarthLink will also sponsor the starting lineups during a number of college football games, including Florida-Florida State and the SEC Championship.

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