FreeRide Launches All-Banner Site

New York city-based FreeRide, an e-commerce affinity site, has launched a site for advertisers that serves banner ads to people when they want to see them.

The company said the concept boosts banner click-through by 5 to 15 times the industry average. For a standard banner, that average is widely reported as less than 1 percent.

“The problem with most banner ads is that consumers see them out of the corner of their eye while they’re doing something else,” said Jordan Stanley, president and co-founder of FreeRide, “which is why most banner click rates are so low and dropping.”

FreeRide’s DestinationPoints solves the problem by creating a site that aggregates banner ads, groups them by interest and gives incentives to surfers for clicking.

Banners are organized under nine categories: People and Communities, Computers and the Internet, Games and Gaming, Music and Entertainment, Money and Careers, Shop ‘Til You Drop, News/Sports/Weather, Travel and Cars.

More than 30 advertisers have signed up so far, the company said, including AT&T WorldNet, CBS Sportsline, Disney Store Online and the Mining Co., among others.

FreeRide itself claims more than 300,000 registered members and 1,300 sponsors for its loyalty rewards program. Members receive points for visiting sponsors, which include AT&T, Disney, K-TEL, Visa, CDnow, Sharper Image, Tower Records, and Toys ‘R Us, among many others. Points are redeemed for gift certificates or products. Visitors to DestinationPoints will get points for clicking on banner ads.

“The people who visit FreeRide are the same folks an advertiser might target at any number of sites on the Web,” said Stanley. “The main difference is that they come to FreeRide when they’re receptive to advertising, not resistant to it because they’re doing something else.”

According to FreeRide research, the average consumer has at least 200 relevant needs, but only one or two of them are top-of-mind at any given moment. The chance of an advertiser’s product or service being one of them is only 1/2-1 percent. And that’s the click-rate most banners on the Internet get.

DestinationPoints gives advertisers a place where their banners are the main attraction, a place where consumers can go at their leisure, and connect with the same advertiser and message they might completely ignore at most other sites, FreeRide said.

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