EPod Corp., New York, an e-commerce company that provides retailers and advertisers with a new way to merchandise products on the Web, today announced an alliance with NBC Internet, also New York. In return for promoting the ePod–a transactional Internet advertising showcase that contains a merchant’s branded message and targeted products–to its members and advertisers, NBCi is receiving a minority stake in the three-year-old company.
Coming two weeks after ePod’s Feb. 15 launch, the deal lends credibility to the new ad vehicle, which promises to draw more traffic than the oft-ignored static banner, said Geoff Clendenning, co-founder and CEO of ePod Corp.
Likened to a mini-store or a Web site within a Web site, an ePod seeks to pique Web surfers’ curiosity in the advertised product or service and then lets them shop, sign up for newsletters or register for prizes all within the ePod, without “hijacking” them away from the site they are on.
NBCi was created in November 1999 by the combination of Web portal Snap.com, community site Xoom.com, network site NBC.com and entertainment destinations AccessHollywood.com and Videoseeker.
As a part of the three-tier deal with ePod, NBCi has agreed to plug the ePod showcase to its more than 11 million members on Xoom and Snap.
Interested Xoom and Snap members can become merchant affiliates by searching the ePod.com site by category, finding products that match their target audiences and adding whichever ePods they choose, free of charge, to their pages by cutting and pasting a small HTML tag. By hosting a merchant’s ePod, an affiliate can earn a pre-determined 5- to 15-percent commission on the sales generated from the site.
In the second part of the deal, NBCi agreed to offer its advertisers the ePod showcase as an alternative to the traditional banner ad. The move signals a transformation in Web advertising–sending the store to the customer, rather than the customer to the store.
Using an ePod builder, advertisers create and update these micro-sites and upload them to ePod.com, a commerce network that allows merchants to distribute and manage ePod programs across affiliate networks. EPod.com also tracks each mini-store’s performance.
EPod Corp. charges advertisers a CPM fee, ranging between 50 cents to $4.50, plus a cost-per-action fee. If a consumer clicks on an ePod and takes the desired action, such as buying, balloting or submitting their e-mail address, ePod snags 2 to 50 cents per action.
Finally, NBCi has agreed to retain ePod as one of its primary ad vehicles.
EPod’s client list includes teen site bolt.com, video retailer bigstar.com and newly acquired Hollywood gossip page showbizscoop.com.
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