Qualcomm pumps Eudora with ads

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Qualcomm relaunches its Eudora e-mail management software as a free, ad-supported product Feb. 15, betting PC users will accept ads in return for getting what had been a $50 item.

Eudora has 20 million users globally, 15 million on a slimmed-down free version and 5 million on the full, paid package. Qualcomm now is rolling out an all-in-one Eudora: The single product, downloadable at eudora.com and software e-tailers, can run in Sponsored, Light or Paid mode.

The full-feature Sponsored has ads, but the slimmed-down Light does not. Paid, which costs $49.95 less a $10 rebate, runs like Sponsored, but without the ads.

Jeffrey Belk, VP-general manager of Qualcomm's Eudora Products, acknowledges revenue has been "flat over time" as Microsoft Corp.'s Outlook and Web e-mail offerings have grown in popularity.

Qualcomm could lose some revenue if paying customers shift to the free product, though Mr. Belk contends Eudora's paid-product revenue actually could increase with retail promotions, details of which have yet to be decided. Qualcomm expects overall Eudora revenue to grow through ad sales.

ONLINE AGENCY SEARCH WEIGHED

Eudora is considering hiring an interactive agency for an online campaign; it has no offline agency and plans no offline ads.

Eudora could be an attractive ad medium: Eighty percent of its users spend 30 minutes or more on e-mail daily. A list of 25 to 30 ads is stored on the PC; a new supply is downloaded when a user signs on. Each square ad (about the size of a business card folded in half) will appear for at least 75 seconds.

Qualcomm is asking for a cost-per-thousand-impressions rate of $14 (up to 100 million impressions) to $28 (1 million impressions) for run of network. Starting in April, Qualcomm will sell targeted ads based on user profiles at CPMs from $23 to $44, said William Ganon, a former Newsweek sales executive who joined last month as VP-ad sales. Real Media reps the site.

Advertisers include American Honda Motor Co.'s Acura Division, Net2Phone, Office.com and Netpliance.

Qualcomm has worked to make its ad program user-friendly: Each screen will have only one ad. It refuses to accept rich-media, animated or audio ads. And it has been conservative on privacy: Users must give an e-mail address, but entering their name or filling out a profile is optional. Mr. Belk said Qualcomm won't marry e-mail/name files with its profile database.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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