And the network is built on a unique model: The seven-month-old company is partnering with brands like Sephora, GNC, and Sony Dash to show ads offering freebies when players make it to a certain level of play or higher.
Whether they’ve just moved up a level, achieved a certain number of points, or won altogether, players will see in-game ads for specific products, and clicking on them will bring free samples. When users sign up for one of the freebies, the advertisers pay Kiip — generally between twenty-five cents and $3. Meanwhile, the goods that players are offered through the mobile ads will be tailored to the game’s demographics — so, for example, Sephora ads won’t be shown in the games that have no reported female players.
This is the second real-rewards-for-playing platform we’ve come across. The first, you may recall, was Is That Odd, which works with an advertising firm to offer free samples in exchange for participation in its message-board-style site. But their purpose was somewhat obscured — we couldn’t tell whether it was supposed to be a market research platform (users could pick the samples they wanted to receive) or just an open forum for women with a desire to post their life questions online. Kiip’s approach is much more transparent — while super rewarding, it’s still straightforward advertising.
We imagine the flurry of free stuff will encourage more people to play the games — and in that sense, Kiip is a rare kind of advertising that actively draws in online users, instead of leading them to hit “skip this ad.”