Company Offers Free Monitors With Built-In Display Ads

Broadscape.com is attempting to carve a niche in the electronic marketing landscape by offering free 19-inch color monitors to the first 100,000 consumers who request one and agree to watch advertisements on the screen whenever they use the Internet.

Broadscape.com’s new monitor has software built in to display ad messaging frames across the bottom and up the right side of the computer screen. MyWay.com will provide customizable content, including the Altavista search engine, for the co-branded start page.

MyWay.com is a division of CMGI, Inc., an online marketing and investment company. KDS, which Broadscape.com says is one of the world’s largest producers of computer monitors, will build the free Broadscape product.

Currently, 19-inch monitors range from $400 to $800 (US$) at retail. However, the free Broadscape monitor is thought to have lesser value because the ads leave it with only 16 inches of usable space.

How It Works

The ads appear whenever the user is connected to the Internet, regardless of the Internet service provider. When the user is offline, the messaging frame disappears, allowing complete use of the monitor’s screen.

To receive a free monitor, computer users must agree to use the monitor while connected to the Internet for at least 10 hours per month for 36 months. If the user does not log on for the minimum, Broadscape.com may ask for the monitor to be returned. However, the company says it will try to make accommodations for vacations and other planned periods away from the computer.

Broadscape said it expects to start shipping the first 100,000 units in March, 2000. The company has no plans to offer monitors compatible with Macintosh computers.

Trading Consumer Info For Computer Gear

Users who receive a free monitor must also fill out a detailed application, which is available on the company’s Web site. Recipients will be selected from a demographic profile the company has not yet determined. The form includes 10 questions about the applicant’s demographic information, such as household income, marital status, activities of interest and reasons for using the Internet.

“All personal data will be stored on a secure server and held in strict confidence,” the company says. If an applicant declines to accept the free monitor after filling out the application, Broadscape.com says it still will not share or sell the information to others. The information will be kept on file and used to tailor Broadscape.com’s service.

Using this data, Broadscape.com plans to attract online merchants to target ads to its monitor users. The company plans to go after traditional advertisers, sponsors and electronic commerce companies. Users are not required to buy anything from advertisers or click on the ads.

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