New Service Places Ads In Web Games

Mochi Media, which tracks Web gaming traffic, has established the first advertising network to offer dynamically inserted ads in free online games.

The service, MochiAds, is giving advertisers access to the ballooning global community of independent game makers “who don’t have contracts with [game giant] Electronic Arts,” said Mochi Media CEO Jameson Hsu.

“It’s like [Google] AdSense,” noted Mike Geiger, director of interactive production, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, adding that Goodby has MochiAds in mind for several 2007 media campaigns. One reason, he explained, is because it offers advertisers an “exclusive, non-intrusive” environment where online players—estimated to exceed 150 million worldwide, per the International Game Developers Association—pay “full attention to the ad because they’re waiting for the game to load.”

“We’re able to market to a captive user without competing against a lot of other advertisers,” said Nils Johnson, CEO, Gorilla Mobile, which used Mochi’s beta network for branding and promos. The wireless company reported a click-through rate of more than 8 percent and lowered its average cost of acquiring new customers by 10 percent, said Johnson.

Other brands currently using MochiAds include Wrigley and BitTorrent.

Ad revenues in online gaming are expected to reach nearly $500 million by 2008, up from $200 million in 2004, per researcher IDC.

MochiAds embeds changeable ads in a game wherever it goes. Until now entities like developer and site gameSheep monetized a title via surrounding ads, which rarely survived distribution across myriad sites, or by selling it to big gaming Web sites, said gameSheep CEO Remus Ciobanu.