Site Visitors Face a Sticky Situation

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Sticky Networks will launch today offering site retention technology it calls "sticky" images. The sticky is a picture on a Web site that a visitor passes his cursor over to reveal pop-up menus that pertain to the image.


The idea is this visual directory will simplify the search process, allowing users to find information and advertisers more comfortably.


"This is geared around a central problem -- people can't find what they're looking for. There needs to be a different way of finding stuff," said Robin Johnson, CEO of Sticky Networks, New York.


A sticky consists of "hot" images -- clickable pictures that let users access pop-up menus containing relevant links and advertisements. It also includes a navigation tree that runs along the left side of the screen, which allows users to navigate via keywords. A "Breadcrumb Trail," which enables users to return to any portion of their search, runs along the bottom of the screen.


Early tests have shown some positive results. One sticky, titled "How to Build a Herb Garden," features images of brochures scattered along a tile floor. The brochures read: Herb Uses, Tools, Types of Herbs, Types of Gardens and Resources. When passing the cursor over Types of Gardens, for example, a pop-up box appears with links to categories such as General Information, Tips and Buy Seeds. In the Buy Seeds section there is a link to Garden.com, where consumers can purchase seeds.


Sticky Networks has a number of revenue models. Web publishers can have a custom Sticky created for their sites. It is free for the first month, and costs $5,000 per month thereafter.


The company also will create a sticky -- like "How to Build a Herb Garden" -- and syndicate it through ad networks. The sticky will be supported by ad revenue from companies featured within the ad, like Garden.com, on a CPM or cost-per-click basis. Sticky Networks will then split the revenue with the ad's distributors.


The company received $15 million in first-round funding in May from a number of companies, including Warburg Pincus Equity Partners.
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