Sony Music Enter-tainment is looking to make a branding impact with fans in an otherwise overlooked piece of real estate: the cursor. Beginning today, parts of the Sony site will function with a Sony branded compact disc cursor rather than the pedestrian "arrow," courtesy of technology specialists Comet Systems, New York.
"We see the cursor as a very powerful point of focus as far as the real estate on the screen is concerned," said J. David Waldman, vice president of new technology and business development for the New York-based Sony division. "We intend to develop the cursor for specific artist sites," with different cursor icons for each, added Waldman, though he declined to name the artists or what shape the cursors would take.
A message on the Sony Music site indicates the new cursors will be available on the homepage, and other sections of the site labeled Lab and CD Extra, plus on pages dedicated to the label's top artists Mariah Carey, Will Smith, Cypress Hill and South Park ChefAid, the soundtrack for the cable show.
The Comet Cursor is a patent-pending technology that allows Web sites to display a static or animated graphic or brand icon in place of the traditional arrow cursor on a Web browser. Other Comet Systems clients include Comedy Central and Mattel, which has used the faces of Cabbage Patch kids as cursors on its site.
Comet Systems will also offer a free holiday kit today in which users can download Christmas and Hanukkah-themed characters. The kit, which features characters such as Santa Claus, his reindeers and menorahs, will be available for download via Lycos and CNET's download.com, plus through ads by CNET. Also today, Comet Systems will introduce Comet Cursor Version 1.1, which allows users to select a favorite cursor icon and make it their personal desktop cursor.
"We actually think that this is going to open up another advertising channel on the Web ... [The cursor] is going to be the 42nd Street and Broadway of screen real estate," said Ben Austin, director of marketing at Comet Systems.