Mike Grover, director of Marketing for TechWeb, founded in 1994 as the first online news source for the IT industry, says the concept was born out of how the company thinks people are using the Web.
"People are using the web as a functional space, so if someone's doing something while online, reading an article for example, clicking a banner represents losing your place," says Grover. "We decided to create a banner with a separate DataPop icon they can click on to get an email when they have more time. We think people have a different frame of mind when on email than when on the net."
But that is still a theory to be proven. "We talked to Forester and Jupiter and neither of them had evidence to support this theory," admits Grover. "We'll know very soon if it's valid. It's for people who are busy, and who isn't?"
With the site just launched on Monday, there's no feedback yet. "We're eagerly awaiting a response from advertisers and the user audience."
The DataPop concept doesn't completely stop the interruption to the flow of work, however. When you click on the DataPop icon next to the banner, a second window pops up with a form to fill out and submit to receive the ad message. So the real advantage is you don't need to take time to evaluate the product and make a decision at that point.
"The concept is to put the user in the driver's seat. The email option allows users to read ad messages at their leisure." And security is preserved as the email the user receives is between CMP and the user, not the advertiser.
"While there's not a big security threat to the user," says Grover, "this is more of a matter of allowing the user to read the ads on his or her own terms. In email they can forward it, discuss it with friends, associates, etc."
The emails now are only in html, which allows the email to even be a page of the advertiser's web site, if that's what they choose to have sent. The email size is 360 pixels wide by any length, "allowing branding," Grover says. But is html-only an issue for people who don't want it or can't read it?
"Our users give us feedback," says Grover. "If they say they need this in text we'll do that. It's straightforward html, so for email clients that read html it's going to be very easy to read. Advertisers can put forms in the email, a big advantage for ecommerce."
The cost for this new twist depends on the size of the ad buy. "If you buy ads from us and want DataPop attached, there's no charge," says Grover. "It's a cost per click model. If the buy is under $50,000 it's $10 per email and it drops as low as $5 per email, which is fully commissionable to ad agencies."
The concept is being promoted first to TechWeb's large advertisers on its big enterprise sites including TechWeb.com, NetworkComputing.com, InformationWeek.com, and InternetWeek.com. "We have a high-end b2b market," adds Grover. "We're reaching out to them as added value. We'll have results within days on proof of concept." Each DataPop email will include a DataPop masthead to brand the service. Advertisers can opt for monthly reports or daily updates through their sales reps.
Grover says he'd "like to see this become a really effective opt-in marketing methodology that's focused on the user. I'd like to see advertisers get a lot of positive results and the user get a lot of info to act on."