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Startup to Showcase Targeted Screensaver Ads

AdSavers.com will launch rich media screensavers featuring targeted advertising logos in July as an alternative to what the company sees as declining interest in banner ads.

“Banner click rates are going down, and content providers and advertisers are seeking alternatives,” said Shaurav Sen, CEO and founder of AdSavers, Arlington, VA.

Users will register for the free screensaver service through links on Web sites that have partnered with AdSavers. The partners will handle all advertising sales and will compensate AdSavers for up to 30 percent of the ad revenue. The content partner will determine the fee charged to the advertiser, Sen said, although the minimum cost per thousand will be $20 for traditional logo ads and $50 for full-screen ads.

“Typically, banner ads are priced at $30 per CPM, but our full-screen ads are more than 30 times larger, justifying the higher minimum cost,” he said.

Users who register for the screensavers will be required to answer questions regarding their interests, gender, age and the type of screensavers they want to be served. Customers will receive a different screensaver with a different advertising logo each time their computer runs idle.

AdSavers also will offer a toolbar that will enable consumers to connect to the featured advertiser's Web site or send e-mail to the advertiser. As an added incentive, screensavers will feature an icon that will flash occasionally to alert the consumer of a free coupon or give away sponsored by the advertiser.

Most of the screensavers will have generic, rich media images that can include news bits, moving graphics, cartoons or video trailers. The screensavers also will include a small ad logo and the content provider's name.

Sen noted that some advertisers might be concerned that consumers will ignore the ad logos in the corner of the page. To address this, each screensaver will flash a full-screen advertisement for one-tenth of a second before the screensaver is deactivated.

AdSavers has established partnerships with flash developer Inertia.com, Rand Interactive and Grafik. The company will sponsor a contest next month in which freelance flash developers will be able to submit screensaver content. Winners' content will be available in AdSavers’ screensaver library.

Consumers will be able to visit AdSavers’ Web site on June 26 to test the software, with the first beta test program expected by July 15. Sen said it is too soon to disclose any potential content partners.

Venture capital firms Draper Atlantic and Venture Strategy provided $3.5 million to assist with the launch.

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