Ad viewers rewarded with mags, swag

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Popular Science magazine launched the AdPerk advertising network on its Web site this past Tuesday in an effort to grow its paid circulation and increase revenue.

The service allows users to watch video advertisements from a magazine's site in exchange for points. The points can then be redeemed for a free annual subscription, containing 12 issues, to the magazine. AdPerk users will also receive a current issue of the Popular Science digital edition.

Users of AdPerk choose from 14 different ad videos on the Popular Science site at www.popsci.com. The ads usually feature products and services featured in the print edition of the magazine.

"The ads are an extension of the content of the magazine," said AdPerk CEO Barry

Soicher. "When I read a magazine, I often look at and value the advertisements as much as I do the content. [Ads contain] products and services that make sense to the reader."

On a host magazine's homepage, an AdPerk banner offers free or reduced-price magazines in exchange for watching the videos. Users who click the banner are taken to the AdPerk platform, where they then choose which video to watch. Soicher calls this system "double opt-in."

AdPerk clients pay for the number of videos viewed and confirmed - via the entering of a letter sequence - by users rather than for space on the AdPerk network. The AdPerk service provides metrics for gauging the effectiveness of the ad and measuring behavior on the site. It also solicits feedback from viewers, both on the site and via mail.

"That's the beauty of the Internet," Soicher said. "This is all about metrics and understanding how better to target the user. If you put the user in control, you have a different mind-set; the only way to get real relevance [in your advertising] is through what the user chooses."

Soicher revealed that a number of new publishing partners will launch their AdPerk links this fall, but declined to name specific titles.

Advertisers featured on the Popular Science AdPerk site include LaserGlow, Endless Pools and Discover Boating. Most of the ads shown on the site are one-minute product showcases that have not been shown on TV. Ads often provide links to marketers' Web sites.

San Francisco-based AdPerk launched in September of last year. Clients include Popular Science and Dwell magazine. Dwell has reported a 20 percent increase in subscription numbers since it partnered with AdPerk a month ago.

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