Coupons Inc. Debuts Contextual Placement Service

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Coupons Inc. launched an online coupon delivery system yesterday that distributes offers related to the contents of a hosting site for consumers to print at home and redeem at local grocery stores.


The system, Concordance, is a contextual placement service that delivers relevant underlining and linking on a Web page. For example, if a Coupons Inc. partner site carries a recipe involving butter, the word "butter" may be underlined, and when a consumer mouses over it, there may be two or three coupons associated with butter from various manufacturers. The consumer can click on the coupon and print it.


"Contextual placement is a perfect fit for the online couponing experience," said Steven R. Boal, CEO of Coupons Inc., Mountain View, CA. "With Concordance, we can offer the consumer savings on something they're already interested in, and there is nothing to install on the publisher's system."


A network of hundreds of consumer Web sites uses Coupons Inc.'s services, as well as consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Clients and licensees include Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Kimberly-Clark, Masterfoods, Pfizer, Wyeth, Valassis and News Corp.'s News America Marketing.


Manufacturers that have coupons available on their sites also can use the service. Here, when a consumer is interested in a particular product and it is highlighted, the consumer can click on it and be taken to a Web page with coupons on it.


In all instances, the manufacturer pays only per print, Boal said.


Boal said the service is used on Dial Corp.'s Web site, Allrecipes.com and the Internet Broadcasting Systems network of television station sites.


Offers delivered via Concordance use Coupons Inc.'s registration features so clients can build databases for consumer loyalty programs, Boal said. For example, if a consumer is looking at diet information on a health site and the word "diet" is highlighted, and she mouses over it and a message pops up saying "Print a Coupon for Weight Watchers cereal," the consumer can click on it, which can initiate a form request for the consumer to fill out her information.


"That information can then be collected and delivered to Weight Watchers in exchange for delivering the coupon," he said.


Coupons Inc. introduces a new interface for Concordance next week to let it deliver lists of coupons relevant to the page a consumer is on in traditional ad units, Boal said. In three months, a second version of Concordance will be released that lets manufacturers manage their own keywords and control placement of their offers.


Coupons Inc. also launched a video ad option this month for coupons delivered via its Digital FSI distribution platform. Consumers can watch 15-, 30- or 60-second videos before printing coupons. Pharmavite's Olay Vitamins signed as the first advertiser.


"With broadband Internet access available in more than 50 percent of U.S. households, rich media is being utilized in nearly every facet of most Web sites," said Jeff Weitzman, Coupons Inc. president and chief operating officer. "Incorporating video into our consumer-printed coupons marries the promotional power of coupons to the rich branding experience of a television spot."


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