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ONLINE COUPON SITE LINKS WITH FUN AND GAMES: CONSUMERS SAVE WHILE COMPETING

By Published on .

The playing field for a popular online games Web site will soon expand to grocery store checkout lines as part of a strategic partnership announced today between Gamesville.com and SuperMarkets Online.

Executives at the two companies see games as a way for each of them to encourage consumers to log on and to shop more frequently.

SuperMarkets Online, a subsidiary of Catalina Marketing Cos., operates the ValuePage Web site (www.valupage.com) that allows shoppers to print coupons for consumer goods, while Gamesville.com (www.gamesville.com)

offers multiplayer games online.

REWARDS

"We're looking for ways to reward the user and to reinforce the interaction between using the computer to save money in the store and make it fun and interesting," said Steven Blyth, senior VP-operations for SuperMarkets Online.

Instead of competing for cash and prizes online only, registered players at Gamesville.com will receive additional clues or make additional moves in a game when they purchase certain products or scan items at supermarkets.

The two companies hope to introduce their first online and store-based game before the end of the year.

More than 10.5 million games a month -- ranging from bingo to stock car racing -- are currently played on the Gamesville.com site by the company's 1.9 million registered contestants.

Steven Kane, CEO of Gamesville.com, described the desire of consumers to play games, win prizes and save money on purchases as the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the new marketing partnership with SuperMarkets Online.

THINKING ALIKE

"Underneath is that we are amalgamating the database marketing and targeting efforts of two companies that think alike and do things alike but just focus on different spaces," he said.

The alliance of the two also was aided by the fact that women are the majority users for both Web sites, Mr. Kane said.

"We both see the advantage of the games to keep it interesting for a person to come to the site and play the game and encourage the extension of the game into

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