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 email. 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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