eVoice Connects Customers to Phone Mail Ads

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Voice mail services provider eVoice, Menlo Park, CA, last week launched the first phone-mail-based interactive audio advertising format labeled "i-audio ad."

Subscribers to eVoice's free home voice mail and Internet-enabled voice services receive a 15-second advertisement prior to accessing messages. Via touch-tone phone, subscribers can request from the featured advertiser an opt-in e-mail, which includes a link to the participating company's Web site; hear additional information; or be instantly connected to the advertiser's telesales center.

Consumers signing up for the eVoice service are required to list date of birth, gender and ZIP code, which eVoice uses as a targeting tool. "The i-audio ad platform allows advertisers to precisely target a captive audience," said Chancey Blackburn, director of media services at eVoice.

She added that the ads served on eVoice also are targeted based on time of day. "If it is early morning, we may deliver an ad broadcasting a discount on a McDonald's breakfast sandwich," she said.

The database is completely anonymous, Blackburn said. While the eVoice system does not track individual consumer buying behaviors, the company expects to develop an expanded registration form later this month that allows subscribers to list their interests.

In addition to delivering its subscribers audio ads, eVoice serves advertisers' banners on its home page, www.evoice.com, to target users who check their voice mail via the Internet. Advertisers can use eVoice's partner, DoubleClick Adserver 3.5, to serve these ads or may choose to use their own ad serving technologies.

EVoice has established partnerships with the young adult site network Snowball.com, online clothing catalog Alloy.com, and free personal computer-to-phone long-distance network Dialpad.com. Visitors to these sites can click on a co-branded eVoice link for free voice mail. Blackburn added that subscribers can choose to check their voice mail on any of these affiliate sites, providing the sites with increased stickiness.

The eVoice interactive platform, which is priced on a hybrid cost per impression/cost per click arrangement, rolled out to six undisclosed advertisers last week, with plans to add more than 100 regional, national and local advertisers to the system by year's end, Blackburn said. She added that eVoice has witnessed up to a 6.3 percent response rate in a series of beta test campaigns conducted earlier this year.

"Jupiter Communications recently reported that average online advertising response rates are roughly 0.3 percent and heading south, so we are optimistic about our initial success rate," she added.

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