IQ News: New Site to Teach Kids About Money

Hoping to attract both money-minded kids and parents wishing to impart fiscal responsibility to the preteen set, Washington, D.C.-based media company BigChange Networks today launched its first online property, AllowanceNet.com, a money management Web site that hopes to help parents teach their children about the value of earning and saving. The site underwent a five week beta test period and has already registered 6,300 users to the service.
AllowanceNet offers a suite of free-to-user online tools that help children age 6 to 14 learn how to manage and budget their allowance earnings. Instead of serving banner advertising, AllowanceNet will be exclusively sponsorship driven, with at-launch partners including Ralston Purina, the Milk Board, the Plastics Council and the Skin Cancer Foundation.
“Our metaphor for kids signing up for the service is to think about their allowance as the paycheck for their first job,” said Nina Benton, CEO at Big-Change Networks, which describes itself as creating “value-centric media products for Generation Y.”
Benton explained that AllowanceNet integrates a sponsorship model that BigChange Networks calls Active Integration Marketing (AIM), which takes shape as contextual tips and notes windows that are sponsored by partner companies, instead of randomly displayed banner ads.
Beyond managing their earned-at-home money, kids can earn virtual points for completing chores that can be redeemed online in a “shopping” area on AllowanceNet. Companies such as JNCO Jeans and Nokia have provided promotional items in the shopping area. Benton said that a fuller e-commerce component at AllowanceNet is expected to roll out in the fourth quarter, as well as e-mail capabilities for registered users.
“These are things that kids are not learning in school,” said Benton. “Our feeling is, of course kids want to spend money. We want to give them a vehicle to do that, but we feel they should first earn it and understand what the value of earning money is, and they’ll enjoy what they buy more.”
There are pending partnerships with portals and other Web sites, although Benton could not be specific.–Kipp Cheng