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Hostway attracts developers with amusing, interactive site

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Challenge: Hostway, a Chicago-based Web-hosting company, was looking for a way to increase awareness among Web designers and developers and wanted to attract other members of the design community to its hosting services as well.

Solution: Hostway turned to 15 Letters, a Chicago-based strategic design and marketing firm. 15 Letters created "Bob’s cube," at http://www.bobscube.com/, an interactive site designed to engage visitors and encourage them, using Flash animation and pop-under advertisements, to visit Hostway’s Web site.

Bob’s cube is a viral marketing campaign aiming to spread the company’s message from consumer to consumer. It has won Site of the Day awards from coolhomepages.com and favouritewebsiteawards.com. With these awards, growing referrals, worldwide links and customer recommendations on message boards and blogs all over the Internet, word of Bob’s cube, and therefore of Hostway, is traveling fast.

Visitors can navigate Bob’s cubicle and click on items in his work space to entertain themselves and learn more about Hostway. For instance, clicking on the "Hostway, the Hosting Company" magnet on Bob’s filing drawer takes the visitor to an informational page about Hostway’s solutions, including domain name registration, Web hosting, e-commerce and business hosting. They also can read Bob’s journal, poke around in his drawers and cabinets, listen to his phone messages and play a number of games on his computer and through links.

Results: The Bob’s cube site, which was launched in April, now attracts up to 20,000 people each day. Since its launch, said Mark Rattin, president and creative director at 15 Letters, bobscube.com has had more than700,000 visits. According to Rattin, the site has exceeded the company’s expectations. Although its aim was to be a pure branding site, creating stronger connections between Hostway and design and IT professionals, bobscube.com has generated more than 500,000 hits, more than 100 new customers and the sale of almost 200 Web-hosting plans for Hostway.

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