in ABCNews.com game
Walt Disney Internet Group is eyeing a January launch of a daily stock-market game on its ABCNews.com Web site, as part of its strategy to create more "stickiness" for the site. The game will closely imitate the "3-Play" game on sister site ESPN.com, where players select a three-player dream team for a particular sports team, and track their results. Dick Glover, executive VP-Internet media, Walt Disney Internet Group and ABC, notes the ESPN game has attracted "thousands of players" to the sports site and, since the gaming platform is already developed, "it's really inexpensive" to launch a similar game on ABCNews.com.
Yahoo! Sports enters ski, snowboard marketing deal
Yahoo! today unveils a deal with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team. Under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo! Sports will be the title sponsor of the "Yahoo! Sports Big Air & Style" series, three competitions set to air on national TV. In exchange, U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team content will appear on Yahoo! Sports (http://sports.yahoo.com), and be able to use Yahoo! to publicize the athletes through chat programs, e-commerce programs and sweepstakes. U.S. Snowboard Team members will wear Yahoo! Sports patches on their uniforms. Yahoo! has done several other marketing deals over the years with the National Basketball Association and the National Football League.
Incentive firm announces first round of funding
Fatshoe Incentive Systems, a startup that provides Internet loyalty and incentive programs, today announces a $6.25 million first round of funding from Espirito Santo Financial Group of Lisbon, Portugal. Fatshoe will use the capital to invest in its proprietary incentive technologies and to fund international expansion. Fatshoe's incentive programs are designed to help companies with employee and customer retention by offering users the ability to cash in rewards offline and online using a Visa card. Fatshoe and Espirito Santo also signed an agreement to roll out Fatshoe internationally. Fatshoe is entering a fiercely competitive marketplace crowded by companies such as Flooz.com and MyPoints.com.
Hiwire inks distribution deal with iBeam
Hiwire, Los Angeles, a provider of advertising solutions to streaming-media companies, and streaming-media distributor iBeam Broadcasting Corp. signed a nonexclusive deal to share their complementary services across their customer bases. The agreement allows iBeam to offer Hiwire's live ad insertion service to its 275 customers including Sony Music Entertainment, MSNBC.com and Launch.com, while Hiwire will make iBeam's streaming services available to its own clients. Hiwire's technology enables marketers to target ads throughout a live audio stream, capitalizing on the revenue-generating ability of online radio. Hiwire's ad servers can deliver more than 1 billion ads per month.
ShopTalk Networks, a developer of voice application and commerce services todayannounced a partnership with Tellme Networks, provider of voice and Internet telephony services, accessible through 800-555-TELL. The partnership gives Tellme's callers access to the ShopTalk Marketplace where they purchase items over the phone. ShopTalk, which provides services to Blockbuster, Pizza Hut and drugstore.com, will become the preferred shopping provider on Tellme Networks.
Nearly half of online holiday shopping done at work
Surfing for holiday presents is supplanting elections chat at the office water cooler, with nearly half of all online holiday shopping happening during regular work hours, according to Nielsen/NetRatings' Holiday E-Commerce Index, which measures Web shopping in eight product categories. Forty-six percent of online holiday shopping is happening at work, while 54% is done from home, according to the survey conducted for the week ending Dec. 3. Nielsen/NetRatings figures office workers are surfing during their lunch hours or squeezing in a few minutes of shopping after the work day. Nearly all e-tailers saw a surge in shopping this holiday season, but many won their shoppers in the workplace. Online toys site KBKids.com attracted more work shopping than home shopping, with a 61%/39% work-home split. Specialty gift providers RedEnvelope.com and Ashford.com saw a large amount of shopping at work, as did clothing retailer Gap.com. The Nielsen/NetRatings Holiday E-Commerce Index leapt 16% the first week of December, led by specialty gift sites, which increased 80% percent over the prior week. Ashford.com skyrocketed 385% while RedEnvelope.com more than doubled. Value-oriented sites also performed strongly, garnering 53% more shopping trips than the previous week, followed by books/music/video merchants, which grew 22%.
Annotate.net today releases 2.0 version of its Find Engine, a desktop application that provides real-time contextual information that is relevant to the Web pages users are visiting. Annotate draws its content from Time Inc., Rolling Stone, CNET, Business Week and others. Annotate also is launching a business-to-business practice, using its targeting capability to target ads. It's in discussions with Advertising.com, DoubleClick, Juno Online Services and 24/7 Media. . . . Last week, DoubleClick laid off 150 staffers, or about 8% of its employees. The leading online ad network and ad-management company employs about 2,000 people. In a statement it said the layoffs, which were made across all its divisions, were in line with a recent reorganization. DoubleClick also suffered the loss of one of its key executives. Wenda Harris Millard, exec VP overseeing DoubleClick Media, joined Ziff Davis Media as President of its subsidiary, Ziff Davis Internet and as chief Internet officer of Ziff Davis Media. Ms. Millard, who was one of the founding members of DoubleClick in 1996, will also serve on Ziff Davis Media's board of directors.
Clarification spam: BlueLight.com, the free Internet service provider backed by Kmart Corp., last week sent out an e-mail to everyone on its press list demanding clarifications or corrections to any stories that might have insinuated that BlueLight was dropping its free ISP service. Earlier in the week, BlueLight had announced that it was acquiring key assets of its free ISP provider Spinway and that it would be evaluating Spinway's unlimited free Internet model. "We did NOT say that we were dropping our free service," the release stated. "If you or a colleague have written or is working on a story that includes wording similar to `BlueLight.com is considering dropping its free service,' we would like for you to post or print a correction. We will always have some form of free service for our consumers. It might be a different plan than was offered through Spinway, but it will always be free in one form or another." The spin ways of Bluelight.