Dale Hopkins, who helped E! Entertainment Television launch
the E! Online web site four years ago as senior vice president of marketing, has joined
the new Internet games site iwin.com as president.
Hopkins said she made the jump from television to the
Internet after watching shifts in popular culture. She likened it to her jump from
broadcast to cable television more than 10 years ago.
The official launch of the new incentives-based site is
today (Nov. 15), following several weeks in "soft launch" mode. Traffic to date
has been generated primarily by word of mouth and links from other Web sites.
"We'll increase our online 'viral marketing,' "
CEO Fred Krueger said, using Internet jargon for word-of-mouth promotion via electronic
mail. But iwin.com won't begin marketing "offline"-- through cable or
broadcast network ads, for example -- until the first quarter of next year.
Trying to compete with other online customers when
"every other commercial is for a dot-com company would be crazy," he said.
Iwin.com -- not to be confused with the CBS
Corp.-backed iwon.com -- encourages Web site visitors to play games, take polls and
provide demographic data about themselves, all in exchange for points good toward raffles
and prizes. The company hopes to be able to deliver a loyal and targeted audience to its
advertisers, including cable networks.
Incentives on the site include entertainment-themed prizes
such as the chance to be a KISS roadie for a day during the rock group's New Year's Eve
Because each iwin.com visitor selects the prizes
they are most interested in, the site will be able to tailor ads that relate closely to
their interests. KISS fans may see banner ads for MTV or VH1, while gamers who compete for
a chance to win a new computer might see ads for ZDTV.
The site also includes games specifically targeted to kids
nine and older, although the majority of visitors are adults. Women represent 48 percent
of the site's visitors, but that segment of the audience is growing.
Hopkins said she expects to announce marketing
relationships with cable programmers within the next two weeks.
In addition to running banner ads, the networks may place
links to their own Web sites on iwin.com. Hopkins said the company is also
exploring convergence applications with television networks, as well as with radio
stations and print publications.
With games like solitaire regularly bundled with new PCs,
it may seem like overkill to go online to play computer games. Krueger said the chance to
pile up points towards prizes is incentive enough for a lot of PC users -- both at home
and at the office.
The 800,000 people who visited iwin.com last month
spent an average of one hour, seven minutes per week on the site. Visitors gain additional
points for directing other gamers to the site.
Hopkins said the average American is fascinated with games,
whether they are sports, Pokémon or the new ABC primetime show, Who Wants to Be a
"We believe the next big game show will be on the
Internet," she said.
Iwin.com is not currently offering any broadband
content. "Most people using our site are running AOL on 28.8," Krueger said.
"That's reality today."