E-mercial emerges

Gamesville.com bows TV-style ads on Web

NEW YORK — A new form of advertising launches today with the Internet intro of the “e-mercial.”

It’s defined by its creators as “TV-style interstitial programming with Web interactivity, rich media and one to one targeting.”

To the layman, however, it’s simply a TV-like commercial over the Internet at http://www.Gamesville.com — the world’s biggest gameshow site. The site devotes eight of every 10 minutes to such games as bingo, acey-deucey, Pop Quiz and Picturama.

Players of these games compete not just for bragging rights (though those can be substantial given that more than 2,000 players have participated in a single game) but also for more $30,000 in cash and merchandise each month.

Gameshow at home

“Instead of having millions of people watch three people play a game in some Burbank studio, we allow millions to play the game from their own homes,” said Steven Kane, co-founder and president of Gamesville producer nineCo.

The company that boasts “wasting your time since 1996” has data to back up its claim. Gamesville, already boasting a 1.2 million-strong subscriber base, is registering 2,000 new players a day. These registrants play for free after filling out a form and then spend, on average, 34 minutes at the site per visit.

That visit translates into three complete eight-minute games and three complete two-minute “intermissions,” which are now given over to those individually targeted, full-screen, rich-media, long-form e-mercials.

The maiden e-mercial sponsor will be chosen from the ranks of Sony, Microsoft, Walt Disney, Rolling Stone, Polygram, MediaOne and dozens of other sponsors of Gamesville.com’s extensive test. Most likely, though, there’ll be several maiden sponsors, as Gamesville players can be targeted by such criteria as age, gender, income, occupation, education, marital status and ZIP code.

Individualized targeting

It all gives rise to one to one targeting, which nineCo explains this way: “Older females may see different messages than younger females. And younger females in New York may see different messages than those in California.”

Players who permit it will also receive separate e-mails, mostly coupons or discounts from Gamesville sponsors, as well as the ad-supported semimonthly newsletter Gamesville Times.

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