WO2014039576A2 - Method and system for advertising, marketing and market data collection through incentivized interactive internet activity - Google Patents

Method and system for advertising, marketing and market data collection through incentivized interactive internet activity Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2014039576A2
WO2014039576A2 PCT/US2013/058088 US2013058088W WO2014039576A2 WO 2014039576 A2 WO2014039576 A2 WO 2014039576A2 US 2013058088 W US2013058088 W US 2013058088W WO 2014039576 A2 WO2014039576 A2 WO 2014039576A2
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WIPO (PCT)
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user
client
host
reward
interactive activity
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PCT/US2013/058088
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French (fr)
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WO2014039576A3 (en
Inventor
Jeff Dee CATES
Joshua Lee COMSTOCK
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Stg Gaming Inc.
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Priority to US201261697249P priority Critical
Priority to US61/697,249 priority
Application filed by Stg Gaming Inc. filed Critical Stg Gaming Inc.
Publication of WO2014039576A2 publication Critical patent/WO2014039576A2/en
Publication of WO2014039576A3 publication Critical patent/WO2014039576A3/en

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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination

Abstract

A system for advertising includes an interactive activity operated by a host on an electronic network. The interactive activity has a scoring algorithm. Content provided by a client is communicated to the user during participation in the interactive activity. A reward provided by the client is communicated to the user upon satisfying a predetermined scoring result. The host receives payment from the client based upon a measure of use by the user of the interactive activity, which can include frequency of communication of the advertising content, duration of communication of the content, duration of participation in the interactive activity, and sales by the client attributable to the interactive activity.

Description

Attorney Docket No. 11035WO01

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR ADVERTISING, MARKETING AND MARKET DATA COLLECTION THROUGH INCENTIVIZED INTERACTIVE INTERNET ACTIVITY

Cross-Reference to Related Application

[0001] This application is related to and claims priority benefits from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Serial No. 61/697,249 filed on September 5, 2012, entitled "Method and System for Online Advertising, Marketing And Market Data Collection Through

Incentivized Interactive Internet Activity". The '249 provisional application is hereby incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.

Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to advertising. In particular, the present invention relates to a system and a method that include gaming on an electronic network or social network website providing incentive-based gaming.

Background of the Invention

[0003] The development of the internet gave rise to the industry of online advertising. Broader access to the internet, the emergence of mobile access to the internet, and the increase in hours spent online by unique users have increased the demand for improvement in the art of delivering advertisements and marketing materials to internet users.

[0004] The industry of online exposure primarily comprises three groups: (1) the user of the internet to whom exposure is sought; (2) the party seeking exposure, usually a purveyor of goods or services; and (3) the party holding rights to the website where the

advertisement or marketing material will be placed. Currently, the website host (hereinafter, "host") seeks to increase its revenue from those seeking exposure on the host's website (hereinafter, "client") through forced distribution of the advertisement or marketed material to the internet user (hereinafter, "user"). The value of distribution of the advertisement or marketing material through the website has been monetized in two common fee arrangements: charging an agreed upon fee based on cost-per-thousand-views (CPM) and cost-per-click (CPC).

[0005] The industry has developed two common methods for online exposure: access pause and redirection. Internet users are familiar with these methods in the forms of banner-ads, pop-ups, click-through ads, roll-over ads and timeout screens. In an attempt to increase the efficacy and value of online advertising techniques have been developed for delivering advertisements and marketing material to users based on recordation and analysis of users' online activity.

[0006] Existing advertising techniques have limited and

diminishing effectiveness, even when presenting materials tailored by the user's online activity. The efficacy of current online exposure techniques has been limited by users' attempts to ignore or tolerate the advertisement or marketing material in order to access the user's desired site or online activity. Further, use of online tools that block existing forms of advertisements and marketing materials has become prevalent among users.

[0007] With the development, widespread use, and mobilization of online gaming, in-game advertising has become an increasingly popular method for attracting the attention of users. To date, these advertisements have been conveyed to game users in the form of timeout screens, click-through ads, banners, and gaming objects. All these techniques are forms of forced exposure that conflict with the user's desired action. Known methods also reward gaming activity based on the user's understanding of the marketing material.

[0008] Online social networking developed at the same time as the development of online gaming. Social networking websites take various forms, including but not limited to, message boards, chat rooms, and more developed and comprehensive social networking forums. These sites, whether by design or convenience, often provide an avenue whereby users can inform others of available rewards, discounts, promotions, and coupons.

[0009] Increasing online exposure and developing more effective methods of exposure are constantly being sought with online advertising. Known online advertising techniques have failed to recognize and solve the problem overcome by the present system and method and which also overcome other inherent limitations of existing online advertising and distribution of marketing material.

Summary of the Invention

[0010] Shortcomings of known online advertising techniques are overcome by a method of advertising comprising:

[0011] (a) providing to a user an interactive activity operated by a host on an electronic network, the interactive activity having associated therewith a scoring algorithm;

[0012] (b) receiving from a client advertising content for

communication to the user during participation in the interactive activity;

[0013] (c) receiving from the client a reward for distribution to the user upon satisfying a predetermined scoring result;

[0014] (d) communicating an offer of the reward and advertising content during participation in the interactive activity; and

[0015] (e) notifying the user of entitlement to the reward upon achieving the predetermined scoring result. [0016] The host receives payment from the client based upon a measure of use by the user of the interactive activity. The measure of use can comprise at least one of frequency of communication to the user of the advertising content, duration of communication to the user of the advertising content, duration of performance by the user of the interactive activity, and sales by the client attributable to performance by the user of the interactive activity.

[0017] In one embodiment of the method, the interactive activity comprises an electronic game.

[0018] In another embodiment of the method, access to the interactive activity is provided to a user upon creation of a user profile on the electronic network. The electronic network can be accessed via a website or by downloading software to a network enabled device.

[0019] In another embodiment, the method further comprises storing information regarding the reward in a database for future retrieval by the user. The database can reside on electronic storage equipment not under the physical control of the host, sometimes referred to as cloud storage. The database can further comprise a plurality of rewards from one or more clients to which the user has become entitled.

[0020] In another embodiment, the method further comprises communicating to the user at least one of reward expiration date and retail location at which the reward is redeemable. The method can also further comprise communicating to the user at least one of a coupon code and an electronic matrix barcode displayable on a device having mobile internet access.

[0021] In another embodiment, the method further comprises enabling the user to communicate, via an electronic communication path provided by the electronic network, information regarding at least one of the reward and the interactive activity to an electronic social network.

[0022] Shortcomings of known advertising systems are overcome by a system for advertising comprising:

[0023] (a) an interactive activity operated by a host on an

electronic network, the interactive activity having associated therewith a scoring algorithm;

[0024] (b) advertising content provided by a client for

communication to a user during participation in the interactive activity; and

[0025] (c) a reward provided by the client for distribution to the user upon satisfying a predetermined scoring result.

[0026] In one embodiment of the system, the interactive activity comprises an electronic game.

[0027] In another embodiment of the system, access to the interactive activity is provided to a user upon creation of a user profile on the electronic network. The electronic network can be accessed via a website or by downloading software to a network enabled device.

[0028] In another embodiment, the system further comprises an electronic storage device for storing the reward from at least one client in a database for future retrieval by the user. The database can reside on electronic storage equipment not under physical control of the host, sometimes referred to as cloud storage.

[0029] In another embodiment, the electronic network provides an electronic communication path for enabling the user to communicate information regarding at least one of the reward and the interactive activity to an electronic social network.

[0030] The present system and method apply the principle that user participation in online conduct that provides value to clients is a function of the level by which the advertisement or marketing material detracts from the user's experience and the value which the user attributes to interaction with that advertisement or marketing material. The user's conclusion regarding value depends, in part, upon the interest the user has in the advertised product or service. Known online advertising techniques fail to achieve the true goal of business exposure, namely, meaningful interaction with the user that creates a positive association of a service or benefit with a particular source or drives virtual and physical traffic to desired locations. [0031] The present system and method increase both the efficacy of distributed material and the level of saturation before the user finds the distribution detractive, by incentivizing the user's participation in an interactive activity containing tailored advertisements or marketed material. The exemplary embodiments described herein present a detailed description of the services and goods offered to users in order to obtain the prompted form of user initiation. The present system and method also overcome the problem of increasing efficacy and avoiding oversaturation by creating several points of engagement between the user and a trademark associated with the client within the fabric of an interactive activity. The process of creating several points of engagement include, but are not limited to, one or more of the interactive activity embodiments described herein or an existing or future interactive activity.

[0032] In one embodiment, the system includes an online gaming and social networking website that provides incentive-based gaming. In this embodiment, the user logs into the website and creates a user profile based upon the host's analysis of the user's internet history, answers to website questionnaires, activity within the social networking aspect of the site, and other stored data. User initiation with the website is obtained through the offer of online gaming, incentives for participation in the games, and a social network oriented toward incentive based online gaming. Once the user joins the website, he or she is notified of a particular incentive based game based upon the user's profile. In another embodiment of the notification method, users are notified by other users, through a public posting interface, of existing and desirable coupons currently available for game-play acquisition.

[0033] User initiation to participate in the game is obtained through offering incentives. There are numerous embodiments of the incentive based game system. In one embodiment, users attempt to acquire coupons, the acquisition of which is coterminous with the goals of the game and the value of which is adjusted depending upon the number of coupons the client wishes to distribute and the nature of game play interaction the client wishes to achieve. In another embodiment, a single offer or coupon can be pushed to a plurality of users, with acquisition of the offer or coupon contingent upon prevailing against the competing users.

[0034] In another embodiment, the host monitors and analyzes the user's profile and conduct. Monitored data includes the user's response to distinct invitations, participation in particular games, time playing each game, and coupons focused upon in the games played. The system uses that data to analyze the user's preference and adjust the nature of advertisements and offers presented to that user.

[0035] The distribution of advertising and marketing material is placed within the fabric of the online gaming and social networking website. In one embodiment, the rewards acquired by the user will be represented by the client's logo. Those rewards earned in the game will then be stored in the user's profile and, again, represented by a symbol or design that connects the user to the client. In another embodiment, user information is stored using a cloud storage system. This embodiment provides access and communication between the website and the user's mobile and immobile internet access devices.

[0036] Another embodiment of the website can include the ability for the user to store coupons and offers acquired through that site electronically. At the user's instruction, the website could provide the user with notifications regarding details surrounding the coupon and the proximity of online and physical locations to use the coupon. Notifications could be delivered, for example, to the user's website profile, emailed to the user's email address and texted to the user's handheld device.

[0037] In another embodiment, the host can use the recorded data to bill clients based upon any combination variables. Such variables include, but are not limited to, popularity of the game, exclusivity of materials within that game, duration of average participation in the game, sophistication of integration of materials with game play, availability of game play and advertising to hand held devices, and degree to which obtained incentives are redeemed by the user.

[0038] In the above embodiments, engagement between the user and the trademark associated with the client is created at several places. One embodiment uses the trademark to assist the user by utilizing the trademark for communicative purposes. For example, the host can push a notification to the user that a new coupon is being offered on the host's site through a message that contains an image of the client's trademark. The present system and method generate online exposure for advertisements and marketing material. This description sets forth several exemplary embodiments with detailed

characteristics in order to provide a clear understanding of the disclosure. These examples are not intended to be limiting.

[0039] Known techniques increase online exposure through compelling users to view advertising either before being provided access to the user's desired destination or activity, or through integrating the advertising or marketed material into the interface of the desired destination or activity. However, known techniques do not conduct online advertising by inducing user initiation through incentivizing the user's participation in an interactive activity. The present system and method provide unique benefits, particularly when considering the existing struggle between hosts and clients who attempt to create exposure and users who attempt to block such exposure through various programs.

[0040] The present system and methods employ user initiation for exposure of advertisements or marketing materials. The terms advertisement and marketing materials should be understood broadly herein to include all notices or announcements placed upon a host's website by a client seeking exposure; whether for commercial or noncommercial purposes. Under this definition, use of the terms advertisement and marketing materials include messages from clients such as businesses, organizations, individuals, political groups, charities, and religious groups. User initiation is obtained through incentivization. The term incentivization includes user rewards such as coupons, discounts, rebates, improved or increased access, and incremental advancements toward the same, and includes the generation and distribution of activities the user enjoys such as social networking and games. In the present description, the term reward is synonymous with an incentivization.

[0041] The present system and method integrate with and improve upon online advertising and distribution of marketing materials;

online gaming, including on-demand game streaming and on-demand game downloads; online social networking, including the electronic storage of user profiles, the creation and monitoring of user

preferences and activity, the hosting* of internet forums, and the creation of rating systems for user feedback; and online rewards, including distribution of coupons, rebates, and discounts.

[0042] In one embodiment, the host provides a website that obtains user traffic and participation through the incentivization methods of: (a) game play, (b) social networking, and (c) rewards. In one embodiment, the user accesses the website through a unique login and password. Upon accessing the website, the host provides the user with the ability to select a plurality of games, the ability to participate in the online community, and the ability to search and access rewards offered to users through the website. [0043] In one embodiment, the host can restrict the user's access until the user completes a required survey. In another embodiment, user access may not be restricted, but the user can be prompted to record the user's information and preferences. In another embodiment, the host records the user's express lists of preferences and information, as well as recording and analyzing user information and preferences based upon the host's monitoring of user activity. In an alternative embodiment, the host allows unregistered access to all or part of the host's website.

[0044] In another embodiment, the incentive for the user to participate in a game is not only the activity itself, but notifications from the host that the game contains rewards available for game -play acquisition. In another embodiment, a user is notified of games in which rewards are currently available that match the user's

preferences. The user then can choose whether to initiate interaction through playing the game.

[0045] In another embodiment, while attempting to acquire the desired reward, the user engages in a game atmosphere where client branding is integrated into the fabric of the game. In another

embodiment, the game activity or gaming objects demonstrate the value of the client's offer to the user. For example, if the host has a client that offers outdoor equipment, the host can offer a fishing game for users. That game would include client branding integrated into the fabric of the game and would offer users the chance to acquire coupons to the client's stores or website. The coupons could be in the form of fish the user is attempting to catch or in the form of casting goals. The rewards could be dynamically updated based upon user conduct or time within the interactive activity. Those rewards acquired by the user's game-play are then recorded by the website and saved in the user's profile for future use.

[0046] In another embodiment, in-store and online synergy is obtained by looping user activity. For example, in the above fishing game example, the client can offer rewards toward specific client items though the host's game. Upon purchasing one of the client's items, whether with an online coupon or otherwise, the user would be granted access to that item as a virtual object in the game. The virtual object can be programmed to improve the user's game performance, thus increasing the likelihood of acquiring other coupons.

[0047] In another embodiment, the host notifies a group of users of a limited number of rewards in a game, available to the first predetermined number of users that achieve a pre-determined goal or action. In another embodiment, the host notifies a group of users of a dynamically decreasing number of rewards or dynamically decreasing value of rewards, where the number or value are dependent upon the duration or level of the user's participation.

[0048] In one embodiment, users can form groups that, at a predetermined number, can unlock certain reward offers. The host can require the group members to participate in a competition so that an award will be distributed only to a select number of group members.

[0049] Another embodiment includes a user preference in which the user can grant access to the host to provide the user with notifications regarding available and acquired coupons. Those notifications can be given to the user in electronic format, including through the website interface, email, instant messaging, and text messaging. The user could also select to allow the host to monitor the user's location and notify the user if the user is within pre-determined proximity to a client with which the user has a reward. In another embodiment, clients of the host allow for redemption of rewards, through electronic matrix barcodes and other paperless redemption means.

[0050] In another embodiment, the social networking aspect of the website is not limited in nature or subject matter to the topic of incentive based activities. Users would, however, be able to rate and comment upon the interactive activities and rewards. Users could also send each other notices regarding offers that the user believes others may be interested in acquiring.

[0051] In another embodiment of the present system and method, the host uses a unique monetization method. In known techniques, both hosts and clients are pursuing new ways to develop a

monetization method that more accurately reflects the value of the advertising and marketing information delivered, as well as allowing for dynamic adjustment based upon performance. The present system and method recognizes the relationship between user participation in online conduct that provides value to clients, the level by which the advertisement or marketing material detracts from the user's experience, and the value which the user attributes to interaction with that advertisement or marketing material has allowed for the development of unique algorithms that dynamically correlate the average user's threshold for conveyance of advertising or marketing material to that user's level of interest in the desired online activity. By use of these algorithms, the host can better approach saturation without reaching a point of detraction.

[0052] Points of engagement between the user and the client's trademark are created in the present method to increase both the efficacy of distributed material and the level of saturation before the user finds the distribution detractive. Engagement between the user and the trademark associated with the client is created at several places. One embodiment uses the trademark to assist the user by utilizing the trademark for communicative purposes. For example, the host can push a notification to the user that a new reward is being offered on the host's site through a message that contains an image of the client's mark. Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the user to search the host's site for available rewards by scrolling through a display of client trademarks. Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the user to obtain rewards within the interactive activity by identifying and winning client trademarks. Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the user to save, access and review rewards obtained in a rewards queue. The queue can represent rewards according to the trademarks of the clients that provide the rewards.

[0053] Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the host to push notifications to the user of available rewards through a message that contains an image of the client's trademark. Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the host to push notifications, through a message that contains an image of the client's trademark, to inform the user that the user is within the geographic vicinity of a client for which the user holds a reward. Additional services available to the user could include the provision of text or audio directions to the particular client. Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the user to redeem the rewards by displaying to the client the trademark or reward code provided to the user. Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the user to communicate with other existing and potential users of the host's site by messages that include client trademarks. Another exemplary point of engagement is the ability of the client to direct users back to the host's site for further rewards offers and exposure to the client's trademark.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0054] FIG. 1 illustrates common modes by which a user can access the services offered by the host through an internet access device. [0055] FIG. 2 and companion subparts FIGS. 2 A, 2B and 2C show exemplary interfaces presented to the user upon accessing the host's site or application.

[0056] FIG. 3 shows an exemplary interactive activity made available to the user.

[0057] FIG. 4 shows the ability for a user to elect to receive notifications to the user's devices when selectable pre-determined criteria are met.

[0058] FIG. 5 illustrates communication between the client and the user via a central network.

[0059] FIG. 6 shows redemption of rewards through electronic matrix barcodes, an example of the user's ability to redeem obtained rewards by paperless redemption means, and the client's ability to update information regarding redeemable rewards.

[0060] FIG. 7 shows user access to the services offered by the host through gaming console.

[0061] FIG. 8 shows an exemplary interface in which the user can browse available and obtained rewards as well as set preferences for notifications regarding rewards.

[0062] FIG. 9 illustrates the ability to incorporate the system and method into use in a third party website. [0063] FIG. 10 shows application of the system and method in the industry of fantasy sports.

[0064] FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment in which use of the client's trademark or branding is integrated into text messaging.

[0065] FIG. 12 shows exemplary points of engagement between user and the client's material through use of the system and method.

[0066] FIG. 13 illustrates the method provided in the teaching for creating client exposure and looped user interaction.

[0067] FIG. 14 shows access to the host's services through television or accompanying device, through in-vehicle systems, and through hands-free technology via a mobile device.

[0068] FIG. 15 illustrates the client dashboard in which a client can monitor user analytics compiled and processed by the host.

[0069] FIG. 16 is a block diagram illustrating the overall system in which a related server or terminal is connected to a network, thereby allowing transmission to and from a variety of parties.

[0070] FIG. 17 is a block diagram illustrating means of accessing the goods and services offered by the host.

[0071] FIG. 18 is a block diagram setting forth the plurality of internet access devices by which the user could access the host's network. [0072] FIG. 19 shows an exemplary interface in which the user has participated in the host's exemplary interactive online activity of shopping and is notified of recipes containing some, all or

substantially similar ingredients to those placed by the user on the user's "grocery list" within the system.

[0073] FIG. 20 illustrates the host's ability to provide the user with electronic matrix barcodes (or other paperless redemption symbols) uniquely generated by the host to communicate to a merchant and the applicable host clients all rewards which the user wishes to redeem, and in response to which the merchant, through the given client, can redeem those rewards eligible for redemption in the given transaction.

Detailed Description of Preferred Embodiment(s)

[0074] Turning first to FIG. 1, exemplary methods of accessing the host's services are illustrated. In FIG. 1, the user takes his or her smartphone or tablet 101 representing any mobile internet access device and downloads (icon 102) the host's application. In one embodiment, access to the host's site is restricted to users who register with the host. Thus, upon accessing the downloaded application, the user is presented with the host's login page (screen 103). At this interface the user creates a new account, or logs into his or her existing account. Once the user is logged into the account, the user is prompted to create a user profile (screen 106). Another method of accessing the host's services is through the internet by personal computer 104, which represents any suitable non-mobile internet access device. In this method, the user would be presented with the host's login page (screen 105), at which point the user could create a new account or log in to an existing account. Once the user is logged into the account, the user is prompted to create a user profile (screen 106).

[0075] FIG. 2 and companion subparts FIGS. 2 A, 2B and 2C illustrate several exemplary interfaces for the user upon accessing the host's site or application. As set forth in FIG. 1, two common methods of accessing the host's services are either through download of the host's application (screen 200) or through accessing the host's website homepage (screen 201). Upon accessing the host's network, the user creates an account with the host (screen 202) or accesses an existing account. The account maintains information about the user, user preferences, obtained rewards, potential rewards, and available interactive activities. In FIG. 2 and companion subparts FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C, the exemplary rewards are coupons. In one interface, the user can load a reward which the user has already obtained to a client of the host into the host's server (screen (screen 203). Upon providing the host with the necessary reward information, the host can then display via screen 204 to the user information regarding that reward. The user can either use the reward at that time, or save it for later use. In one embodiment, if the user chooses to save the reward for later use, the host stores the data that the user has obtained a certain reward and the data regarding that reward in a "reward book" for future user review and access (screen 205). Those rewards can be identified or

accompanied by client branding. If the user selects a previously- obtained reward, the user is presented with more information regarding that particular reward (screen 204). If the user selects or is notified about a potential reward, the interface can present information regarding that reward (screens 206 and 207), including the client, the terms, the number of available rewards left within the host's system and the methods for obtaining the reward. The interface can also include an option to direct the user to the interactive activity in which the reward can be obtained. In one interface, the user is prompted to provide information regarding the user's specific interests and preferences (screen 208). The host can use that information for a multitude of purposes, including determining those offers and interactive activities best suited to that particular user.

[0076] FIG. 2 also provides exemplary interfaces in which the user can select between reviewing and engaging in an interactive activity or reviewing obtained and offered rewards (screen 209). In one embodiment, the available interactive activities can be browsed by the user (screen 210). In FIG. 2, the exemplary interactive activities are games. There can also be different sponsors or clients of specific rounds of games, or there can be several different client offers within the game (screen 211). After the interactive activity (or a

predetermined portion thereof) is complete, the host can present the user with the option of participating in the activity for additional rewards offered by different clients (screen 212). [0077] In addition to the creation of a user profile based upon the provision of interests and preferences, FIG. 2 shows an interface where the user can edit the user's profile (screen 213) as to interests and offers (screen 214) displayed and registration information (screen 215) and personal information (screen 216). The host can also provide the user with options regarding whether and which notifications should be provided to the user's mobile device.

[0078] FIG. 3 provides exemplary displays of a user's experience with a host's interactive activity via a smartphone application. In FIG. 3, the user has accessed the host's "GAMES" screen 301. In this example the user selects "STG GAMING FISHING" as the interactive activity. If the user has already downloaded the game into the user's application library, then the game will be launched (screen 302). If the user has not yet downloaded the selected game, then the user will be directed to a web-based location to download the game (screen 303) and add it to the user's library. The game can also be displayed on the user's home screen 304. Once the game loads, the user will then be presented with the activities unique to that interactive activity. In FIG. 3, the user is presented with an option to "Play" or to browse "Goods" in screen 305. The user is also provided with the ability to update the user's profile (screen 306) or preferences (screen 307) within that particular application.

[0079] In connection with the "Goods" option in screen 305, clicking on that box can present items to the user for selection and purchase. For the fishing game illustrated in FIG. 3, those items could include fishing equipment such as rods, reels, lures and tackle boxes. Optionally, the list of items can be configured such that products in the client's product line are the items being offered or highlighted, as set forth in more detail below with respect to FIG. 19.

[0080] In the interactive activity of fishing specifically shown in screen 308 of FIG. 3, the user attempts to catch fish of various sizes and varieties. The activity can provide the user with rewards if the user satisfies a predetermined threshold or engage in a predetermined activity.

[0081] In FIG. 3, the user is presented with rewards based upon catching a predetermined amount of fish (screen 309). As shown in FIG. 16, all or a portion of the user's activity when engaging in an interactive activity can be stored in a location accessible to the user, the host, clients of the host, and any other party granted access to the information.

[0082] FIG. 4 sets forth an embodiment where the user receives notifications from the host on the user's mobile internet access device. In this embodiment, user information and reward information is stored on a network, such as a host server or cloud server 401. Here, the host has prompted the users to set preferences on the network regarding notifications desired by the user, such as the amount, nature, and destination of notifications the user wishes to receive. Those preferences can be set by, and the notifications can be sent to, any device with access to the internet, including a smartphone 402 and tablet 403. The notifications that can be sent from the network include, but are not limited to, new rewards suited to the user's profile, reminders of coupon expiration, event reminders, and other

promotions.

[0083] FIG. 4 also provides a screenshot of an exemplary interface the host can present to the user upon notification (screen 404).

Additional embodiments exist from the plurality of methods in which the user could be notified, even absent a smartphone, including MMS messaging. Another type of notification is a vicinity notification, in which the host notifies the user of rewards the user holds to a client who is located within a predetermined distance of the user's current location (screen 405). For example, if the user has a coupon to a restaurant, retail store or coffee shop, they will be notified within a specific proximity that they set in their profile when they are

physically near the client.

[0084] FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary method of communication from the client to the user. The client can use an internet access device 501 to communicate (arrow 502) with network 503. FIG. 5 illustrates one aspect of the information loaded onto the network, that being access to new coupons made available by the client. Users who have selected to receive notification of new rewards in certain categories or from certain clients will be notified of the available reward when the network 503 pushes (arrow 504) a notification to the user's device 505. The user can then access (arrow 506) network 503 to obtain more information regarding the nature of the offered reward and the action necessary to obtain that reward. In an embodiment using a cloud server, users will be able to access these coupons along with other information, on any suitable device compatible with cloud technology. User information, settings, and coupons from any device including, but not limited to, mobile devices, tablets, or personal computers, are also sent to the network.

[0085] FIG. 6 illustrates a method of in-store redemption of rewards by the user. In one embodiment, the rewards obtained are displayed on the user's mobile internet access device in the form of a barcode 601 that can be scanned by the client's barcode scanner 602. These devices are displayed in FIG. 6 to represent any suitable electronic redemption method. FIG. 6 illustrates how each device communicates with the network 603 (described more fully in FIG. 16, which records the redemption of the reward and updates the user and client

information accordingly).

[0086] FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment where the user utilizes a gaming console with internet connectivity (devices 701) to connect to the network 702. Examples of such gaming consoles include, but are not limited to, brands including Xbox 360, PlayStation, Wii and PSP. Upon accessing a game with activities that have been integrated using the present system and method, the user will be prompted to register an account or log in to an existing account (screen 703) in order to access information that has been stored on the network regarding that account. The user can then participate in the accessed game and obtain rewards offered by the server through the accessed game (screen 704).

[0087] FIG. 8 shows an exemplary mobile device display where the user's rewards are presented in a "My Coupons" interface (screen 803) that displays the rewards stored in the user's cloud account 801. When the user redeems a reward, the user's account will be updated via the Cloud to reflect the redemption. In one embodiment, the user will also be able to sort rewards according to category or geographic location, delete rewards, or exchange coupons with other users. The interface can also include an option that, when the user selects the illustrated option 802, prompts the host to locate the closest store to the user's location where a selected or an available reward can be redeemed. The user can also be provided with an option to view directions through the user's mobile device navigation or map systems.

[0088] FIG. 9 shows the ability to apply the present system and method both within the host's website and within a third party's website. It is envisioned that the host can provide one or more of the services described herein through contracting with a third party and granting the third party full or limited access to the network. In this example, the host makes available game software, via the interface designated in FIG. 9 within hatched line 903, to be played on the client's or other third party's website (screen 902). The interactive activity may be able to run from the host's servers, but could also be configured to run from the client's or other third party's server as well, and would be able to download the offers specifically related to the client. All normal game functionality including account access and coupon sync via Cloud would remain intact. The third party or client would also have the option for the host's users to link their client- based account to the host-based account, so they could sign into a client account using their host credentials. The host would send the interactive activity code to the client or third party for them to embed on their website.

[0089] FIG. 10 shows the ability to apply the present system and method to fantasy sports. This application can be applied to networks established either on the host's website or on a third party's website. Most Fantasy Sports Leagues are free and are paid for by advertising. Any payout is done between friends or under the table. Some fantasy league hosts charge users a fee to get started, with a cash payout to the winner of the league. Here, the host offers a Fantasy Sports activity that is incentivized by clients (screen 1001) and accessible to users via web, mobile/tablet devices, or other gaming consoles. In one embodiment, the client will reward a user or set of users when a predetermined milestone is reached. In another embodiment, the user can obtain a reward based upon a successful fantasy sports week. In another embodiment, the reward can be based upon defeating another user within the league. In another embodiment, the users would also be able to create their own leagues with other users, and would also be able to share their winnings, brackets, stats through other social networks or through the host's social network.

[0090] FIG. 11 shows an option within the host's system to integrate client trademarks into the user's messaging device. Currently text (SMS) messages are sent by typing text into a mobile device keypad (screen 1101). When the user wants to mention a company by name, the user has to type out the word. In the present system and method, a client's trademark can be inserted when the user types in the name of certain companies, brands, or restaurants (screen 1102). The user would type in "Henry's" on their phone, and the moment the word was finished, the Henry's logo would appear and replace the word "Henry's." An optional keyboard for the internet enabled device could also be installed on the phone, so that the user could also select a logo from a list (screen 1103). In one embodiment, the host can provide this technology as an automatic download with the user's download of the host's social network application.

[0091] FIG. 12 displays exemplary screenshots for a user having received the notification of a new offer, the steps for redemption of that offer, and the user's interaction with the client. In this

embodiment, the host notifies the user of an available reward through the user's smartphone application (screen 1201). Once the notification is opened by the user, the user is redirected to the host application, and the client's logo and client's coupon are published (screen 1202) on the mobile device. The user can then select to engage in the interactive activity, which can contain client branding within the fabric of the activity (screen 1203). When the user obtains a reward, the system will automatically post a notice the reward to any location designated by the user, such as online social networks like Facebook and Twitter (screen 1204). Depending upon user and client

preferences and reward availability, the host can also prompt the user to engage in another interactive activity for additional rewards. Users can review obtained coupons through the host or cloud server (screen 1205). When a user is within a specific proximity from a retailer or business where they have a coupon, the host can prompt the user with a notification along with directions on how to get there from their current location if necessary (screen 1206). The user can then redeem the reward through display of an electronic client coupon

(screenl207) to client 1208.

[0092] FIG. 13 displays the loop effect of the present method. The user receives a notification or finds a client reward of interest for which the user would like to participate in a set activity (step 1301). The user then participates in the activity, during which time the user can be exposed to client materials and is spending time attempting to obtain a client reward (step 1302). The user's results are then stored in the host's servers or a cloud server under the user's account (step 1303). The user then visits the client's website or store to redeem the reward (step 1304). The client can elect to provide the user with additional rewards, options or notifications through the host upon redemption (step 1305). The user then revisits the host application or website to retrieve the additional offers from the client (step 1306). The user's success and activity is recorded on social profiles at the user's selection (step 1307). Depending on what the redemption code is, the user can receive an additional client discount, host coins, client/host offers, or may be able to unlock the simulated real-world purchased item (for example, a particular brand of athletic shoes on the host's basketball activity) to use in an activity for the user to improve performance and, thereby, increase chance for obtaining more rewards (step 1308).

[0093] FIG. 14 shows the ability to apply the present system and method to a plurality of internet capable devices. FIG. 14 provides that example with an internet enabled device 1401 (for example, a television, DVD/Digital Video Recorder/Blu-Ray Player or other internet enabled device) that can download software, a vehicle display system with internet capabilities (screen 1402), or a hands free device 1403 through the user's mobile phone. The system and method could be applied to the vehicle display system (screen 1402) or hands-free device 1403 through interactive activities that require voice responses. The user would also be able to speak commands in response to the game in the form of answers. The style of games to be played would be geared towards audible games only; or quite possibly another series of games that could be played if the vehicle was in park. In one embodiment, the user would also be able to type in an address or City/State/Zip to find client coupons along their journey or destination for which they could play for. The system could communicate via satellite to the host servers and Cloud system to update their host account and provide the user the latest client offers.

[0094] FIG. 15 shows an exemplary interface that the host can make available to clients (dashboard 1501). In this embodiment, clients are able to review the participation in interactive activities offered, the prominence of user trademarks found within an activity or the host's site, the duration of display, the information and conduct of users, and various other information stored by the host.

[0095] FIG. 16 is a block diagram illustrating the overall system in which a related server or terminal is connected to a network 1601, common embodiments of the network being central server or cloud server. As shown in FIG. 16, various users 1602-1 to 1602-N), client 1604, host 1605 and third party content providers 1606 access network 1601. Host 1605 controls the manner and level of access to the network. Users 1603-1 to 1603-N connect to network 1601 through an internet enabled device, such as a personal computer or other mobile internet access device. Upon connecting with network 1601, a user transmits and receives information to and from network 1601, as depicted by arrow 1607. A user receives information, such as that illustrated in figures previously described. The user also transmits information to network 1601 either as a deliberate act (such as changing preferences or altering the user's profile) or simply though use of the host's site or application. [0096] FIG. 16 also illustrates the network being accessed by a single client, although the network could be accessed by multiple clients. As shown in FIG. 16, the illustrated embodiment also provides the client with access to transmit and receive information to and from the network (arrow 1608). The client can transmit information to the network such as available rewards, those obtained rewards that have expired and those obtained rewards that have been redeemed. The client can receive information such as the users who have obtained a reward, and the information set forth in FIG. 15.

[0097] As further shown in FIG. 16 the illustrated embodiment also provides the host with access to transmit and receive information to and from the network (arrow 1609). The host uses this access to, among other things, provide interactive activities (or provide access to third party content providers who have created interactive activities) pair users with potentially applicable activities and rewards, analyze user activity and user preferences, develop new methods for

presentation of activities and rewards to users and improve integration of client trademarks with interactive activities.

[0098] As further shown in FIG. 16, the illustrated embodiment also provides a third party content provider with access to transmit and receive information to and from the network 1610. In one

embodiment, the host does not develop certain aspects of the host's services by itself, but rather contracts with a third-party content provider. For example, the host can hire a game developer to create and load games onto the network that are compatible with the rewards uploaded by clients and the structure of the host site.

[0099] FIG. 17 is a block diagram illustrating exemplary ways in which a user can access the host's services. The user 1602 uses internet access device 1603 to either download an application 1701 or visit the host's site 1702. Upon accessing the application of the host's site, the user then registers or logs into an existing account (screen 1703) and is thereby granted access to the goods and services offered by host 1704.

[0100] FIG. 18 is a block diagram providing an exemplary list of those devices that could be utilized by the user to access the network. Included under the generic category of internet access device 1603, are a smartphone or tablet 101, a personal computer 104, a gaming console 1401 with network connectivity (for example, Xbox 360, PlayStation, Wii and PSP 701, a television or DVD/Digital Video Recorder/Blu-Ray Player that has internet capability), a vehicle display system 1402 with internet capabilities, and a wireless earpiece device 1403 connected to smartphone 101.

[0101] FIG. 19 provides an exemplary interface of one embodiment of a service offered by the host in the present system and method. In FIG. 19, the user has selected to participate in the host's "Grocery List" interactive activity. In one embodiment, the user compiles a grocery list (screen 1901) by entering in the desired items, selecting the desired items from a list, or selecting the desired items in a virtual shopping experience. In another embodiment, the user's list is stored in network 1902 and retrievable by any suitable internet access device through the user's profile. In another embodiment, the items presented to the user for selection, either in a list of items or in the virtual shopping experience, include client branding and deliberate placement of client goods based upon agreement between the client and host. The user can select an ingredient unaccompanied by client branding or can select a particular brand. In another embodiment all known brands are presented to the user, while in another embodiment only brands held by clients of the host are presented to the user. In one

embodiment the list of items and the items available in the virtual shopping experience are accompanied by notifications of available rewards for that particular item, similar items, or other items offered by the client. The user can also select an option to be notified of client recipes containing some, all or substantially similar ingredients to those placed by the user on the user's "grocery list" within the system (screen 1903). In one embodiment, within the option to receive a notification of recipes, the user can also save favorite recipes, block a given recipe, and share recipe and recipe reviews over a social network. Although grocery shopping has been described herein, the service described in FIG. 19 could be applied to a plurality of shopping experiences including but not limited to tools, clothes, and general fabrication.

[0102] FIG. 20 also provides an exemplary interface of one embodiment of a service offered by the host in the present system and method. In addition to reward redemption through code and visual inspection by the redeeming party, FIG. 20 shows an embodiment of redemption through an electronic matrix barcode. In FIG. 20, the user has created a list of rewards the user wishes to redeem in a given transaction (screen 2001). The compiled list and the user's desire to redeem are communicated to the host through network 2002 and the host provides the user with an electronic matrix barcode, or other paperless redemption symbol (screen 2003) for presentation to a redeeming party using, for example, a scanner 2004. The redeeming party, whether a client or otherwise, verifies those rewards available for redemption in that transaction. In another embodiment, the redeeming party can redeem the reward and record the redemption through communication with network 2002. Upon redemption, network 2002 updates the user's profile and updates the list of available rewards in the user's profile (screen 2005). In one

embodiment, the codes are provided with the client's trademark(s) or other branding, as shown in FIG. 20.

[0103] In addition to an improved advertising system, an improved advertising method comprises the steps of:

[0104] (a) receiving, from a client, advertising materials the client wishes to display to users;

[0105] (b) receiving from a client rewards for distribution to users in given amounts and at given intervals; [0106] (c) providing an interactive activity for users;

[0107] (d) associating a reward offer and advertising material with a provided interactive activity;

[0108] (e) notifying users of the availability of rewards from

clients obtainable via the interactive activity;

[0109] (f) receiving from the user a request to participate in the interactive activity;

[0110] (g) restricting general public access to the interactive

activity until the user creates a profile on the host's site;

[0111] (h) monitoring the user's activity;

[0112] (i) storing those rewards obtained by the user in the user profile for future user reference and use;

[0113] (j) making the user profile, the interactive activities, the rewards storage device and other functions of the host's website available via cloud storage;

[0114] (k) notifying the user of the details surrounding obtained rewards, in which such notifications include warnings about expiring offers and alerts about client stores that are nearby; [0115] (1) providing a system by which users can redeem an obtained award through display of a mobile internet device-an example of such step being the use of a coupon code or an electronic matrix barcode on the user's phone;

[0116] (m) receiving payment from clients based upon factors regarding the production of content and material, include placement of content, popularity of interactive activity in which client rewards and content are placed, and internet and in- store traffic generated though the host's site.

[0117] While particular elements, embodiments and applications of the present invention have been shown and described, it will be understood, that the invention is not limited thereto since

modifications can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present disclosure, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A method of advertising comprising:
(a) providing to a user an interactive activity operated by a host on an electronic network, said interactive activity having associated therewith a scoring algorithm;
(b) receiving from a client advertising content for
communication to said user during participation in said interactive activity;
(c) receiving from said client a reward for distribution to said user upon satisfying a predetermined scoring result;
(d) communicating an offer of said reward and advertising content during participation in said interactive activity;
(e) notifying said user of entitlement to said reward upon achieving said predetermined scoring result; whereby said host receives payment from said client based upon a measure of use by said user of said interactive activity.
2. The method of claim 1, wherein said measure of use comprises at least one of frequency of communication to said user of said advertising content, duration of communication to said user of said advertising content, duration of performance by said user of said interactive activity, and sales by said client attributable to
performance by said user of said interactive activity.
3. The method of claim 1, wherein said interactive activity comprises an electronic game.
4. The method of claim 1, wherein said internet activity comprises a fantasy sport activity operated by said host and
incentivized by at least one client.
5. The method of claim 1, wherein access to said interactive activity is provided to a user upon creation of a user profile on said electronic network.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein said electronic network is accessible via a website.
7. The method of claim 5, wherein said electronic network is accessible by downloading software to a network enabled device.
8. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
(f) storing information regarding said reward in a database for future retrieval by said user.
9. The method of claim 9, wherein said database resides on electronic storage equipment not under physical control of said host.
10. The method of claim 1, wherein said database further comprises a plurality of rewards from at least one client to which said user has become entitled.
11. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
(f) communicating to said user at least one of reward
expiration date and retail location at which said reward is redeemable.
12. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
(f) communicating to said user at least one of a coupon code and an electronic matrix barcode displayable on a device having mobile internet access.
13. The method of claim 1, further comprising:
(f) enabling said user to communicate, via an electronic
communication path provided by said electronic network, information regarding at least one of said reward and said interactive activity to an electronic social network.
14. A system for advertising comprising:
(a) an interactive activity operated by a host on an electronic network, said interactive activity having associated therewith a scoring algorithm;
(b) advertising content provided by a client for
communication to a user during participation in said interactive activity; and
(c) a reward provided by said client for distribution to said user upon satisfying a predetermined scoring result.
15. The system of claim 14, wherein said interactive activity comprises an electronic game.
16. The system of claim 14, wherein said internet activity comprises a fantasy sport activity operated by said host and
incentivized by at least one client.
17. The system of claim 14, wherein access to said
interactive activity is provided to a user upon creation of a user profile on said electronic network.
18. The system of claim 17, wherein said electronic network is accessible via a website.
19 The system of claim 17, wherein said electronic network is accessible by downloading software to a network enabled device.
20. The system of claim 14, further comprising:
(d) an electronic storage device for storing said reward from at least one client in a database for future retrieval by said user.
21. The system of claim 20, wherein said database resides on electronic storage equipment not under physical control of said host.
22. The system of claim 14, wherein at least one of reward expiration date and retail location at which said reward is redeemable is communicated to said user.
23. The system of claim 14, wherein said electronic network provides an electronic communication path for enabling said user to communicate information regarding at least one of said reward and said interactive activity to an electronic social network.
PCT/US2013/058088 2012-09-05 2013-09-04 Method and system for advertising, marketing and market data collection through incentivized interactive internet activity WO2014039576A2 (en)

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US61/697,249 2012-09-05

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Family Cites Families (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US7546534B1 (en) * 2002-08-26 2009-06-09 Microsoft Corporation Personalizing access of game web site based on user configuration
US20110159964A1 (en) * 2009-12-31 2011-06-30 Microsoft Corporation Facilitating sponsorship of game-play-based achievements
US20110244947A1 (en) * 2010-04-02 2011-10-06 John Stephenson Method for players from off-site locations to play games with prizes being redeemable at on-site locations
US8328642B2 (en) * 2010-06-16 2012-12-11 Zynga Inc. Game based incentives for commerce

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