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New E-Mail Ad Service Gives Look, Feel of Print Magazines

E-Book Systems has distributed its monthly e-mail newsletter with a twist: It included a link to marketing messages on open-book advertising space that uses the company's FlipBrowser technology.

Hoping to give marketers an avenue to reach consumers through the look and feel of traditional magazines, the Singapore-based software company provided the ad space for free to a number of companies to test the FlipBrowser technology.

“Because full-page advertisements are accepted in the real world, and people don't even think twice about reading them, we think that this technology will be accepted online,” said Michael McGaughy, vice president of strategic alliances and business development at E-Book.

The FlipBrowser allows users to view content on a full Web page and gives them the ability to change pages — through rich media — by clicking on an icon at the bottom of the page. The format lays out two Web pages in the form of a book across a monitor.

Marketers can position their messages, photographs, rich media and multiple links to different pages on their Web sites on the book format. As with a traditional magazine format, they can place ads on multiple pages. For instance, a company can place a photograph of a product or service on the left-hand page and content on the right-hand page, with links splashed around both pages.

Users can download a FlipBrowser viewer, which is an introduction to the product, for free at www.flipbrowser.com. E-Book is selling an upgraded version of the software — FlipBrowser Gold — for $19.95 at the Web site or at retail locations.

The HTML e-mails were sent to more than 270,000 of E-Book's newsletter subscribers, a mix of general consumers and Webmasters, among others, McGaughy said. The book featured about 10 pages with advertisements from four to five companies, he said.

ShutterPort, a Web portal for the photography industry and a branded service provider, advertised on the book and has entered into a deal with E-Book to offer FlipBrowser to its customers as part of its interactive photography game. ShutterPort tested the technology through an e-mail drive to 1,000 people from its database, and 7 percent of them clicked through to various links, said Martin Berns, executive vice president at ShutterPort, Boca Raton, FL.

ShutterPort also asked 3,000 people from its database to provide commentary on the technology, Berns said, and 92 percent of them said they favored it over banners.

“There's no interactivity to banner ads. There's no reason to click through,” Berns said. “[FlipBrowser] offers a whole new unique methodology of attracting eyeballs and increasing viewership.”

ShutterPort this week plans to distribute 10,000 e-mails to its opt-in database using the FlipBrowser software, Berns said.

Targeted promotions network GetRelevant, San Francisco, also placed an ad for one of its clients, the American Software Association, on the FlipBrowser. The association is advertising a software product on the book.

While GetRelevant CEO Mitchel Harad is taking a wait-and-see approach, he expects the online platform to outperform other online marketing vehicles because of its similarity to traditional magazines.

“It has a really good chance to be much more expressive than a lot of the online platforms we use because of the size of the format,” Harad said. “I also like that a visitor can go back later after clicking on a page, which is a nice advantage over banner ads. If you click on a banner, you may or may not be able to find it again later.”

Pending the results of this trial campaign, Get Relevant intends to use the platform for other clients, Harad said.

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