WeatherBug Debuts New Ad Model

WeatherBug yesterday unveiled an online advertising model that enables its 17 million users to change their sponsor at will. The feature - "Advertising On-Demand" - is an expansion of WeatherBug’s existing Sponsor Select program that also enables consumers to have more control over who advertises to them.

The capability debuted with the launch of WeatherBug 5.0, the newest version of the WeatherBug service, which is already the number one source of weather information on the Web and one of the top news and information sites, according to comScore Media Metrix. The free, ad-supported Internet application streams live neighborhood weather conditions, severe weather warnings, civil emergency alerts and forecasts to PC users.

With the launch of version 5.0, WeatherBug now features a "Choose Another Sponsor" button that enables a user to change their sponsor as often as they would like. Once clicked, WeatherBug presents consumers with a list of advertisers to choose from, divided into several major categories such as health, travel, computing, education and others.

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When a new advertiser is selected, WeatherBug's appearance changes to display the advertiser's messages wrapped around the weather content in a format called BrandWrap. Users also receive a welcome email from their new advertiser and are shuttled to the sponsor's website during the selection process. Advertisers participating in this program only pay for sponsorships when their ads are chosen.

The company says that this WeatherBug online advertising paradigm, first debuted in 2001, enables higher brand recall than other formats.

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