Slate.com Publishes Ad-Supported Serialized Novel

Online magazine Slate last week launched a new serialized novel, "The Unbinding," a dark comedy by novelist Walter Kirn that was conceived specifically for the Internet. The effort will leverage some of the Web's qualities by containing links to other Web sites; it also will be written in "real-time."

Describing the initiative on the site, Slate culture editor Meghan O'Rourke characterized the book as "conceived for the Web, rather than adapted to it." "It will make use of the Internet's unique capacity to respond to events as they happen, linking to documents and other Web sites," wrote O'Rourke.

The Web site is in talks with advertisers to line up an exclusive sponsor, said Cliff Sloan, Slate publisher. Sloan would not name the potential sponsors, but called them "premium advertisers." Currently, the novel is being monetized by ads sold through Slate's regular sales processes.

He said the ads for "The Unbinding" will be more creative than typical display ads. "We're actually talking about possibilities that would be pretty innovative and take full advantage of the medium in the same way that the novel does--special features that would only be available on the Web."

Sloan said that Slate was looking to be recognized for hosting innovative ad campaigns, citing the Visa "flip" campaign, which presented the site in a backwards, mirror-image to users before flipping it back when they moused over the ad.

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