Ten advertisers have signed on to support the Mining Co., Scott Kurnit's network of 250 special-interest sites. While they're not Web advertising's usual suspects, they do represent the niche orientation of the venture and perhaps the hesitancy of blue-chip advertisers to experiment with a new online model.
Amazon.com, IBM Corp., 1 800 Flowers, Nynex's BigYellow, Moet champagne, Interactive Coupon Network, Intellipost, PCFN, 1Travel and FashionMall signed on as part of an eight-week charter program. Ads cost about $20 per thousand impressions.
4/21/97: Mining Co.
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The Mining Co. is a network of sites that are each led by a human guide. The network hopes to have 1,000 sites--and guides--by yearend.
The Mining Co. also offers ads on specific content hubs (such as business or entertainment) for a $45 CPM, or even specific sites (like motorcycle restoration) for a $65 CPM.
Mr. Wragg said he's planning to introduce classified advertising to many of the network's sites.
"The Mining Co. provides experts and guides in a wide variety of fields that correspond to our most visited search topics," said Wayne Mitchell, ad director at BigYellow. "We see a perfect fit there. While we'll concentrate on some specific hubs, we like the branding opportunity on the home page, which is visited by all kinds of people."
AT&T WorldNet Service, one of the Mining Co.'s test advertisers, will feature the network as a content provider on its home page.
The Internet service provider will pay a fee to the Mining Co. for any new subscribers generated from the network's sites. Conversely, the Mining Co. pays WorldNet for increased traffic to its site.
ATTRACTIVE TO AT&T
"Our customers have varied tastes and interests," said Chris Varley, interactive services director for AT&T WorldNet. "We were naturally attracted to the Mining Co. because of the range of their sites."
AT&T WorldNet has formed similar relationships with Time Warner's Pathfinder, USA Today and InterZine Productions' iGolf.
Although the Mining Co. believes advertising will account for most of its revenue in the next year, the company is laying the groundwork for transaction revenue.
"There are much deeper and broader revenue potentials for transactions, because they will offer a whole new way to do business for many companies," said Mr. Wragg.
NABISCO MAY JOIN
Test advertiser Nabisco Biscuit Co. is in discussions with the Mining Co. to offer some type of transactions within the next quarter.
Additionally, the Mining Co. is negotiating with several ISPs, online services, directories and providers of push technology to increase its distribution online.
"Our plan for distribution is very telling to our strategy," said Mr. Kurnit, president and founder. Because the Mining Co. is a new business model, it doesn't view any particular sites as competitors.
The Mining Co. last week launched a $3 million to $5 million radio, print and outdoor campaign by Frierson + Mee, New York, with online support from SiteSpecific.
Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.