Freeserve Agrees to Use iWeb Ad Format

Freeserve PLC, the United Kingdom’s largest free ISP, announced Monday it is partnering with iWeb to license the company’s iNotes messaging and advertising medium.

INotes, which is being billed as an alternative to a banner ad, is a technology that periodically sends a message that floats a user’s computer screen. The user then has the option of pausing the note, browsing within it, or closing it. Ads on these messages can be in a variety of rich media formats, and can be targeted using user profiles.

“iNotes will enable us to offer new services to both our subscribers and advertising partners that complement our free Internet access model,” says Freeserve Chief Executive Officer John Pluthero. “User feedback from our iNotes trials was very positive and we are looking forward to deploying iNotes across our entire service.”

The deal between Freeserve and iWeb comes as a multitude of advertising and e-commerce supported ISPs are springing up, and as these companies are seeking more subtle alternatives to banner ads. Existing pay ISPs have also been looking at ways to supplement their revenue and lower prices, because of the new free competition.

“iNotes provides ISPs with the solution they are looking for by enabling them to participate in previously unavailable Web advertising and e-commerce revenue streams, without changing their major business focus,” says Kobi Samboursky, iWeb’s chief executive officer. “Our partnership with the UK’s largest ISP marks an important milestone, it puts a huge credibility stamp on our service and provides a vast audience for iNotes.”

The iNotes service has been beta testing on Freeserve, which has 1.5 million total subscribers, and the companies say click-through rates during the beta period were ten times that of normal banner ads. Young and Rubicam is a strategic investor in iWeb.

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