Multilingual lottery sweepstakes Web site TroppoLotto officially launches this Wednesday, offering prizes ranging from $5 to $1 million, the option to play in English, French or Spanish and a tropical setting where Jimmy Buffett would feel at home.
"We wanted to offer people a place to escape, a virtual vacation on the Net," said Brian Nelson, founder and CEO of San Carlos, Calif.-based Trancos, the parent company of TroppoLotto. "We used a tropical motif complete with parrots and lush beach scenes."
Hoping to capitalize on the estimated 13 million Net surfers in France and the 5 million Spanish-speaking Web users in America, the free TroppoLotto game features French- and Spanish-language versions accessible from the top-level page. "We're the industry's first and only multilingual online lottery sweepstakes," Nelson claimed. The site's name is a pun on "tropical" and the Italian word for "much."
Unlike Lucky Surf and other online lottery sweepstakes sites, TroppoLotto allows visitors to pick their seven numbers before registering personal information such as income level and marital status. However, to complete the process, they must register, then visit one of three advertisers' sites to confirm their contest entry. Players can enter up to three times each day, at no charge.
Prizes are in denominations of $5, $50, $2,000 and $1 million, and are paid in cash. "We've had over 1,500 winners since our beta launch in December," said Nelson. The first $2,000 winner scored three weeks ago; there are no million-dollar winners yet.
After playing, contestants get an e-mail thanking them for playing, with a notification if they've won. These messages carry ads as well. Trancos also sends contestants stand-alone e-mail ads from various advertisers. Current advertisers include Disney, CoolSavings, eBay, iwin, Rolling Stone and SpeedyClick.
Also launching Wednesday with TroppoLotto is its parent company's site, located at www. trancos.com. Nelson envisions Trancos as an online entertainment destination site, and is promoting it on the TroppoLotto site and elsewhere. Its ad network is Flycast, which is based in San Francisco.
The Trancos site continues TroppoLotto's tropical motif. This online community offers voice chat, message boards and some unusual entertainment choices such as i-ching and tarot card readings.
Nelson is optimistic about TroppoLotto's appeal. "We ran banner ads all over the world, and France had the second-highest clickthrough rate--over 4 percent, even though the ads were in English," he said. "Either there are a lot of English-speaking people in France, or everybody understands '$1 million.' I guess money is the universal language."