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Yoyodyne Entertainment, traditionally a developer of e-mail games and sweepstakes, is entering the Web content syndication business.

The Irvington, N.Y.-based company has formed an alliance with Wenner Media's Rolling Stone to provide a game called Cover Story to about 100 sites. Additional alliances with similar high-profile consumer titles are expected to be announced later this month.


Yoyodyne (http://www.yoyo.com) this week begins peddling the game to sites on the Web whose users are of similar demographics to Rolling Stone readers. While sites will receive the content free of charge, Yoyodyne will sell national advertising sponsorships on the game. Each site that agrees to carry the Cover Story game can also sell one sponsorship slot on a more regional level.

National ad rates are tentatively set at about $15 per impression. Although no advertisers have been signed, Yoyodyne is currently in discussions with beer and apparel marketers to become its first sponsors for Cover Story.

"Content is super expensive to create and without new content, sites get very stale," said Seth Godin, president of Yoyodyne. "We're focusing on barter syndication of our gaming content to help sites end up with a game that is `sticky' and creates a reason for users to return."


Cover Story, to launch in February, will feature weekly covers from past and future Rolling Stone issues. Using Shockwave technology, only bits and pieces of the cover are revealed at a time and each day of the week more of the cover is revealed. Users e-mail their responses to Yoyodyne, which then e-mails scores and results back to users a few times a week.

"The game will definitely keep users-especially music lovers-coming back for more," said Jerry Shereshewsky, VP-marketing and business development. "We're looking to syndicate our content to sites who want traffic directed back to them on a regular basis."

Executives at Rolling Stone could not be reached for comment. In addition to publicity for its magazine, Rolling Stone will also receive a "small cut" of the advertising revenue Yoyodyne generates. Rolling Stone last October launched a site on the Web at http://www. rollingstone.com.

Yoyodyne also recently created a game called "Where in the World" (http://www. whereintheworld.com) that it is currently syndicating to more than 30 sites on the Web.


Although it was launched a month ago, the game-which challenges users to name where in the world a certain photograph was taken-is still undergoing changes. No advertisers have yet to be signed for "Where in the World."

Until now Yoyodyne has created more than 100 e-mail-based games and sweepstakes for clients including AT&T Corp., Sprint Corp., MCI Communications Corp. and American Express.

"We're beginning to broaden our product array," said Mr. Shereshewsky. "E-mail contests aren't the answer to every marketing problem. . . . Our barter syndication model addresses the need for sites to create stickiness."

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