Doppelganger, A New Online Ad Model?

Doppelganger, a San Francisco-based startup is launching a virtual world today that’s part nightclub, part billboard. And it could have figured out an online advertising model that could become common place over next few years. My story about the company is now up on the CNN Money website.

The steady shift of advertising dollars online has entrepreneurs scrambling to come up with business models that will help them capture part of the bounty. So far, most of the attention has been on the search advertising gold-rush that propelled Google from puny startup into a behemoth worth $115 billion.

The advertising community will need this new thinking, especially as the younger (and the more lucrative) demographics move away from traditional media outlets. Online community, Bolt, just released a research report which says that 80% of 16-18 year olds can’t name all four top TV networks – NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX. Admittedly, this is a small smaple size – about 417 odd people, but still the data is pretty stunning.

But there are other forms of advertising besides search, and for its virtual world, The Lounge, Doppelganger has settled on a product-placement model popularized by Hollywood, where advertisers pay up to have their products featured in movies and TV shows. Music label Interscope Records has already signed up for a trial to have Doppelganger build a virtual club for its Pussycat Dolls band within The Lounge.

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