Re-Emerge as Dotcom
Affiliation Networks this week will shed its somewhat mundane moniker for what it feels is a more jazzy dotcom title. Re-christened as Snowball.com, the San Francisco-based content company will promote its new name with a $1-$2 million trade and consumer effort breaking the week of Sept. 13 to raise its profile for users and advertisers, as well as potential investors being wooed for an IPO the company hopes to hold in the first half of 2000.
Affiliation Networks spun out of Imagine Media Publishing in February of this year to develop and service online content-based networks targeting 12- to 29-year-olds. Among its more well known brands: ChickClick, for the 15- to 29-year-old female demographic, which launched in February 1998; and IGN, a leading site for 12- to 24-year-old male game enthusiasts, which launched in March 1997. Other properties include IGN sister site The Den, Power Students Network, for 16- to 26-year-old students, and its newest addition, InsideGuide, a student-driven college community network.
“We wanted a brand that would be memorable, that would ring true with this generation,” said president and CEO Mark Jung of the name change, which he says evokes viral, participatory growth. “That’s what a snowball is.” Prior to joining Affiliation, Jung was CEO and founder of Worldtalk, an e-mail and Web security solutions firm which he helped to take public in April 1996.
New York agency Stein Rogan + Partners is developing the ad campaign. Jung says it will try to convey to marketers that they should target the 12- to 29-year-old demographic where they are active, ostensibly on the Web. Jung dubs this group the I-Generation, for the Internet generation, a combination of Generation Y and Generation X.
The effort will concentrate on print, outdoor and online with spot TV and radio to follow. Snowball.com earns revenue from banners, trigger ads, promotions, sponsorships and content licensing deals with companies such as Yahoo!, Hotmail, McDonald’s, Esprit and Coca-Cola. Snowball.com plans to add e-commerce as an additional revenue stream and as an attraction for visitors, advertisers and future partners. Its sites aggregate 4 million users, according to Jung, and Snowball.com is aiming to build one to two more networks annually.
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