SANTA MONICA, CA (PRWEB) May 2, 2004
FreeFi Networks, a Santa Monica, CA based firm, is launching the first large scale advertising network targeted to the growing Wi-Fi audience. The service creates a new market for advertising on public Wi-Fi systems such as those available at hotels, airports, cafes, shopping centers.
"As of 2003, there were almost 10,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots in the U.S. alone" says Lawrence Laffer, President of FreeFi Networks. He adds that "we're seeing a perfect storm of sorts, with a huge increase in Hotspot deployment and huge decrease in the cost of Wi-Fi enabled devices from PCs to PDAs" Laffer also says "the difficulty with the Hotspot business until now has been the fundamental model for paid Wi-Fi. Users aren't willing to pay for what amounts to a second Internet service provider just to get their Wi-Fi fix outside of the home. We think that the FreeFi ad model can provide significant revenue to Hotspot providers while still providing an excellent user experience."
Many locations that cater to the business traveler, seen as the "holy grail" of the Wi-Fi business, are beginning to offer free wireless access on their properties. Marriott, Choice Hotels and Microtel are just a few of the companies jumping on the free Wi-Fi bandwagon. They view this as a competitive advantage as well as a customer amenity.
"FreeFi can provide significant cost recovery to this type of location" Laffer says. "It's a no-lose situation for a free Wi-Fi provider since it monetizes an existing asset." FreeFi displays a persistent set of ads adjacent to the user's browser without use of invasive advertising software or pop-up ads. Laffer adds "Our market research indicates that, except for pop-ups, people really don't mind ads, but they re getting very savvy when it comes to things like adware and spyware. They just don't want to download stuff to their PC. In addition most people are using Pop-up filters now."
FreeFi plans on rolling out their service by mid-Summer and is initially targeting hotels and transportation terminals as locations. "We've had some great feedback from locations and from the advertising community." says Laffer. "They totally get it. They understand that more and more people want to access the Internet outside the home and this is a great way to get their message to them."
# # #