Use the web for PR and to feed people

Web banner ads look great but don't always get great results (well, all except niche ones such as those that will be on this site soon!) but there's one website which is bucking the trend...and helping to feed starving people into the bargain.
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If youve got £600, a website banner ad youd like viewed by 300 000 people, and a burning desire to end world hunger, theres a website you should check out. (Thanks to Tony Farrelly of Cycling Plus for forwarding us a spam-like email on the site).

The Hunger Site allows surfers to click a button that sends a virtual meal to a starving person via the United Nations World Food Program. When the surfer clicks the donation button which is free and only one click is allowed per day six or so banner ads pop up. They are that days sponsors (most are American).

To date we havent seen any bike trade companies listed as sponsors but for mass market brands it could be a surprisingly cost-effective promotion (and, anyway, everybody should go there every day and click on the donation button).

This what the Scotsman newspaper has to say about the site:

A website that is breaking all the rules...its a rare banner ad that can overcome the surrounding noise to grab a potential customers attention. One remarkable new initiative has managed to buck the trend, combining a highly creative charity campaign with an attractive sponsorship package for internet businesses. As for the sponsors, many are finding that their link with the Hunger Site makes sound commercial sense...the Hunger Site breaks through one of the major obstacles to advertising on the net: getting the user to care enough about your ad to click on it.

The Washington Post is also complimentary:

Think of all the time you spend clicking aimlessly or fruitlessly around the Web. At the Hunger Site, one click actually accomplishes something: It sends a serving of food to a starving person, at no cost to you. Corporate sponsors provide the food in exchange for free advertisement and links. Since its June 1 start-up, the site has sent enough money to the United Nations World Food Program to purchase more than 4 million servings of dietary staples; a WFP official calls it an extraordinary testimony to the power of the Internet. The privacy-protected site is run without profit by John Breen, an Indiana software programmer who initially wanted to support Third World education but decided hunger was the priority. As his world map arrestingly illustrates, starvation kills 24,000 people daily, most of them children.

The Hunger Site is looking for established companies who are willing to sponsor for 10 days or more.

We believe that the Hunger Site is one of the best media buys on the

Internet for the following reasons:

1) The average cost to run an advertisement on the Internet is now 3.496 cents per advertising impression (The Boston Globe, July 6, 1999).

The cost to run an advertisement on our Thank You For Your Donation page is one seventh that cost, 0.5 cents per advertising impression. (This is for an advertisement that is somewhat smaller than average, but considerably more noticeable.)

2) The average click-through rate on the Internet is now approaching one

half of one percent. That is, only about 1 person out of 200 clicks on

the average banner advertisement.

Our sponsors have consistently received click-through rates of many

times that percentage, often 3% and above. The reason, we believe, is

that the people who donate here are grateful to the sponsors and are

willing to learn more about them.

3) In addition to a great price and an outstanding click-through rate,

your company will receive two additional benefits that are unique to

sponsoring the Hunger Site. First, sponsors receive tremendous good will from everyone who comes to the Hunger Site to make a donation. Second, sponsors profit from the publicity surrounding the Hunger Site.

4) By sponsoring the Hunger Site, your company will be making a major

contribution in the fight against hunger sponsors write a cheque for

100% of the amount due directly to the United Nations World Food Program for food. In fact, your company may prefer to look at sponsorship as a form of corporate charity.

Sponsors pay per click but, if the site has a particularly busy day, the sponsor is protected with a fee ceiling, usually running at about $1000 a day. There are currently 200 000 to 300 000 donations per weekday

All we need to set you up as a sponsor is your banner advertisement and the URL you want it to link to, usually your home page. Suppose

that you want to try sponsoring us for one day. First, check with us to

make sure that the day you want to sponsor is still open. Then e-mail us

the banner ad you want to use. Now suppose that there are 200,000 donations on the day that you are sponsoring. (The exact number will be posted the next day on our Donations To Date page.) We will then send you a billing statement for 200 000 donations x 0.5 cents = $1,000. You write a cheque for that amount and send it to the UN World Food Program, whose address is on the bill. That is all you pay, and that is all there is to it.

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