Germantown, Md (January 24, 2007) AWS Convergence Technologies, innovators of global technology solutions and the parent company of the highly successful WeatherBug ( www.weatherbug.com) brand of products and services, is expanding its patent-pending Sponsor Select platform for the interactive games marketplace. Sponsor Select enables its online game partners to monetize their offerings by empowering users to control the advertisers they'd like to see before their game begins. Advertisers pay only when they are selected by users and every click is a guaranteed visit to a marketer's Web site.
"Participating in Sponsor Select casts advertisers in a very positive light since users appreciate that they are making free, valuable content available to the consumer," says Andy Jedynak, AWS' Chief Marketing Officer. "Offering Sponsor Select to industries like online games will enable advertisers to target niche audiences with great precision, efficiency and reach."
AWS has been running Sponsor Select on its WeatherBug properties since 2001. Based on past research, the company has found that the vast majority* of users like the ability to control who they get ad messages from. About half of all people appreciate their sponsor more because they perceive that this advertiser helps to bring them the content. Finally, two-thirds say they were more likely to buy the products or services.
"Online gaming is growing rapidly and to encourage larger audiences, many game providers are moving from fee-based models to ad-based programs," says Nick Pahade, President of Denuo, Publicis Groupe's Futures Practice. "AWS is in the right place with the right kind of product that gamers view as unobtrusive and additive to their experience. Having them pick their own advertiser builds a connection and loyalty from the start."
This is the first time AWS has extended the Sponsor Select platform to other interactive content distributors. Among the first gaming sites to partner with AWS is Big Fish Games ( www.bigfishgames.com), a leading developer and distributor of casual games. Big Fish Games has one of the biggest and highest-quality online game catalogs with more than 400 titles, a global network reach of over 25 million monthly unique users, and a rapidly growing customer base that downloads more than 500,000 games per day.
"The Sponsor Select program from AWS is an innovative platform," says Steve Udd, director of advertising at Big Fish Games. "This program allows advertisers to deeply integrate their messaging into Big Fish Games' interactive gaming environment and reach our very valuable demographic which consists of 60 percent female players, 85 percent of which are over the age of 30. Players have more control over their gaming experience and can tailor game play messaging more to their interests."
Among the advertisers who have participated in the initial phase of the game industry based Sponsors Select program are: Windows Live, Hoover, Western Union, Senseo and Walt Disney World.
"The advertising industry is definitely taking notice," said Michael Rosen, senior vice president and general manager, AWS/WeatherBug. "The Sponsor Select platform through online casual gaming and WeatherBug has generated tremendous success for both brand and direct response advertisers."
Here is a link to see how users can choose advertisers before starting their sponsored game: www.aws.com/sponsorselect
AWS Convergence Technologies ( www.aws.com) provides innovative global technology solutions that profoundly improve the way people and businesses connect, communicate and use information. Since its inception in 1993, AWS has been building consumer and business brands, such as WeatherBug. Ranked as one of the top news and information site on the Web, WeatherBug offers advertisers to own the user experience through some of the most innovative advertising programs found in media today.
*83% somewhat or really liked it (Insight Express Aug 2006)
48% appreciate the sponsor more (Insight Express Aug 2006)
66% somewhat or much more likely to use or buy their
product/service (Insight Express Aug 2006)
*** NDP Group
Mara Radis, Dir. of PR, WeatherBug
George H. Simpson Communications