'Garfield' Browser for Kids Gets Multichannel Push

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Children's Technology Group Inc. began an offline and online direct marketing campaign to promote Garfield Island, a browser that limits the Web sites children can visit, with a goal of getting 800,000 registered users and 100,000 paying subscribers by the end of the year.


E-mails were sent to 200,000 registered users at Garfield.com, the official site of the cartoon cat created by Jim Davis. Garfield.com receives more than 1.5 million unique visitors monthly.


Over the next month, online banner ads will run on the SurfNetKids newsletter to 156,000 families and on daily uClick comic e-mails to 200,000 recipients. E-mails also will go to 40,000 registered users of PCS Edventures educational products.


Offline, Children's Technology Group will promote Garfield Island in mailings included with 100,000 software deliveries through the Software of the Month Club. And Garfield Island inserts will be included in 700,000 Circuit City customer invoices.


The browser also will be introduced on the Army and Air Force Exchange Service's AAFES.com site, which acts like a Sam's Club or Costco for 3 million active and 7 million retired military personnel. Soon, AAFES stores will carry Garfield Island CDs.


Available for download at www.garfieldisland.com, the browser streamlines thousands of fun and educational Web sites. Teachers, parents and staff approved the list of sites. Through a password-protected desktop feature, parents can stop children from accessing other files or programs on the computer and taboo sites. Parents can administer changes online at www.MomsAndDads.com.


"Simply, it solves the growing problem of Internet safety for children," said Chris Wrolstad, vice president of Children's Technology Group, a Golden, CO, builder of co-branded sites. "Using standard browsers, kids can go anywhere on the Internet and see hate, violence and porn sites. With Garfield Island, kids can only see a list of pre-approved Web sites, e-mail friends in their parent-approved buddy list and chat in our community chat rooms with language and personal information filters."


The browser and basic Web management features are free, but parents also can pay $4.99 a month, or $49.50 a year, for Club Surf premium features. These include educational activities such as storybook and drawing areas, talking e-mail and chat, and messages directly from Garfield to kids.


Created in 1978 by Indiana native Davis, Garfield is one of the three most widely syndicated comic strips in the world. Universal Press Syndicate distributes the cartoon strip on the life of the curmudgeonly cat to more than 2,600 newspapers worldwide. Roughly 263 million readers see Garfield each day in 24 languages.


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