Personalizes Targeting for Students

CommonPlaces, Cambridge, MA, announced the availability of its new full-service Internet hub for the collegiate market, called, which will allow online advertisers to reach college students with targeted personalized messages.

The service was launched as a test in March with students from more than 275 colleges taking part. The official launch will take place in August. CommonPlaces would not disclose the exact number of schools or advertisers taking part but said that both numbers would be more than 200. Larger colleges are being targeted first.

CommonPlaces will be promoting with the help of the colleges as well as the Network Event Theater, New York, a college campus media and marketing services and promotions group.

The Network Event Theater will be advertising the site through a number of mediums and services, including campus movie trailers; Campus Voice, which will feature poster displays on walls around campuses; and HotStamp, a national free postcard advertising service.

Students will receive offers based on profiles created entirely by the students, which will include their name, school, age, gender and ZIP code. The profiles will eventually grow to include majors and other areas of interest regarding a student's courses.

“We want to be careful what we ask for,” said Liesel Pollvogt, director of marketing communications. “If we ask for too much, then it can become annoying for the user and make it less appealing for them to use.”

“Students can always come in and change their personal profile,” said Bill Townsend, vice president of sales and marketing. “They can also identify what types of ads they do not want us to send them and which ones they do.”

The main page will be personalized for each individual student. Offers will appear in the form of banner ads and contain links back to the advertisers site. Currently signed with the firm are Ford, Chevy, Armani, The Gap and Tommy Hilfiger.

“We will also be able to track what times students are usually on the site,” Townsend said. “So if we know that they are usually on the Web around dinner time we can send them an ad for Domino's Pizza or another local eatery. The offer can contain the student's name as well as the phone number to call to place their food order.”

The service will allow students to place their orders online. Their orders will be stored so that the next time an offer is delivered to the student, it will be exactly like their last order.

Other features of the site include: a Web-based e-mail address, an academic search engine, information on areas of study, job-search databases, financial aid and scholarship information databases, campus calendars and a community building feature that allows students to post club and meeting information.

The site bans advertising for cigarettes, alcohol, firearms, pornographic material and credit cards.

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