Compaq, Webstakes Strike Sweepstakes Deal

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Compaq Computer Corp. wants to attract more small- and medium-sized businesses through a sweepstakes program it expects to start early next year with Webstakes.com., an Internet promotions and outsourcing firm.


Compaq's site for e-business services will feature a link structured by Webstakes.com that advertises the giveaway of a Compaq Presario desktop computer, which will be awarded after the campaign ends. Consumers registering to win the Presario will have to answer three demographic questions to enter the contest.


Compaq, Houston, and Webstakes.com, New York, said they implemented a similar program last November that proved successful, although no figures were disclosed.


"The small to medium business market is everything from one-person SOHO accounts to the larger [firms] with employees in the lower hundreds," said Marius Haas, vice president of e-commerce organization at Compaq's commercial PC group. "[Webstakes.com] gives us a variety of promotion offerings which allows us to test different mechanisms as we look for customers who'd be interested in Compaq."


Webstakes' iDialog is designed to lure qualified leads to retail sites such as Compaq's and get consumers to join Webstakes' coupon and sweepstakes clubs. The technology registered a combined 12.4 million entries from all Webstakes clients during the third quarter of 1999. The promotions firm saw only 6.4 million of such entries during the prior quarter.


Steve Caputo, vice president of promotions and client services at Webstakes, said iDialog's format doesn't tire Internet viewers with numerous demographic questions.


"Too many promotions companies are more interested in ensuring the captivation of data instead of slowly building a relationship with the customer," Caputo said. "They ask five to 10 questions upfront. If you analyze the drop-off rates of those sites, their rates are significantly higher than ours."


The system doesn't use multiple line, full-page applications as do many online membership sign-ups. Instead, it ties a short series of requests (an e-mail address, a demographic fact and a street address) to an entry for a contest.


Haas said iDialog provided Compaq with a versatile platform to attract qualified leads.


"The small and medium business market is the most diverse in our industry and, therefore, a hard one to get a hold of," he said. "Webstakes is one of the more efficient vehicles for us to reach our target audience. The depth of their database information allows us to build a relationship with the consumer."
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