A Paradigm Shift in Online Advertising - And You Can Benefit

Published: 28th October 2009
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What if you could make money doing something you probably do presently for nothing - surf the internet? No need to sell anything, make cold calls, develop a website, and best of all, it is free. All you have to do is download and place a free toolbar on your browser. When you want to earn some income, you click a button on the toolbar then watch and rate a short advertisement. That is all you have to do. If you are willing to spread the word to your friends, family, your favorite charity or non-profit and have those folks follow the same process, you can make money when they make money. Too good to be true? Read further and decide for yourself.

The developer of this newly debuted toolbar is the Boloto Group of Scottsdale, Arizona. Boloto is a decade old company that says it works to provide solutions to problems it perceives in the marketplace. Boloto believed a major problem was the high cost of online advertising and its ineffectiveness. Its solutions, called Invite5 and Get The Bar, offer better ways for businesses to deliver advertising to a targeted demographic, gain feedback on that advertising, and do so at lower costs. At the same time, the Boloto system compensates participating consumers for their time and candid opinions. Boloto has spent the better part of its existence developing Invite5 and Get The Bar, which has taken years of programming, created four U.S. and world patents pending on the technology and cost millions of dollars in development.

So, how does it work? If you are an person, you sign up and download the Invite5 toolbar and add it on your Firefox and/or Internet Explorer web browsers. The toolbar is unobtrusive and looks comparable to any other toolbar you have installed, except this one has a button called "Ads." On any website at any time you can click the "Ads" button, and a line of text ads appears on the left side of the screen. There are two kinds of ads. Ads colored blue and gray are called 10 cent ads, for which advertisers have paid - you guessed it - 10 cents. Such ads are tailored to the interests and demographic information provided by you when you signed up with Invite5. There are also green and gray ads from 3rd party ad networks, which are not associated to your demographic. Click either type of ad, regardless of its color, and it pops up in a new window. Once viewed and rated on a one-to-five star scale (10 cent ads only; no rating necessary for 3rd party ads), you get paid. Over time, as advertisers create more 10 cent ads, Invite5 will scale back, and then eventually eliminate, the 3rd party network ads altogether.

You can click up to 10 ads per day, and you earn a penny for the 10 cent ads and 1/3 cent for 3rd party network ads. The toolbar shows in real time the amount you have earned. Although one cent does not seem like much incentive to look at an ad, Invite5 has implemented a creative viral marketing strategy with a tiered payment system. While you get paid a penny for your own clicks, you get 1/3 of a penny for the clicks of everyone or every group you introduce to the bar and the people that they introduce and so on, down seven layers deep. You are not limited in the number of introductions that you make, nor are your friends, nor are their friends, so if it continues going viral those partial pennies add up fast.

Invite5's website provides a calculator that estimates how much you earn if everything goes according to plan. Suppose you register 10 people. Then each of those 10 people sign up five of their friends and then those five sign up five of their friends and so on to seven levels deep. If all of the people in that matrix average three ad clicks a day for a month, the calculator estimates you would make over $50,000 that month. Now exact duplication with a down-line is virtually impossible, so let's plug in some very conservative numbers. What if you have five personal sign-ups, three enrollments for everyone thereafter down to seven levels, and an average of two clicks each. That equals $983 per month, plus change. That can cover a lot of childcare, groceries or some other expenses in these dismal economic times. That would really be an economic stimulus package.

You can also sign up any company or organization through Invite5's sister program, called Get The Bar. As long as the group lists your user name as the referrer, you will earn on any users the group enrolls, down seven levels deep, just like Invite5. So you can invite your favorite non-profit, church, school or charity to join. As the organization's members join and view ads, the organization gets paid, and you get paid. It is the equivalent of an organization having an automated donation machine.

With Get The Bar, an organization can also use the toolbar to communicate with its members. The Get The Bar toolbar is customizable so any organization can upload their logo to the bar. When members join they will be able to place the organization's logo on their toolbar as well. Clicking that logo will take the member to the organization's latest news, updates or offers. So suppose your kids' school district has the toolbar and inclement weather comes. Rather than having to watch the endless scroll of school names on television or search for the district's website, you can find out if school is closed with one click on your toolbar.

Do you have a company with a website and a list of customers? Get the toolbar and invite your customers to join, which will make you and them money. You can use your company's logo to inform your customers about your latest sales, your newest line of products, whatever. Boloto also has a widget that you can place on your company's website. With it, visitors can make you money by clicking on the widget, regardless of whether they are members of Invite5.

If all this sounds vaguely familiar, it may be because Boloto Group has been testing another toolbar, similarly called GetTheBar, since last December. Boloto released it to a limited number of users in order to fine tune the program and work out any software bugs and also to see how well the concept took off. It exceeded their expectations, all the while using only the 3rd party exchange ads that were not specifically targeted to the demographics of the user, and frankly, not very good ads.

By this time you probably are shaking your head in disbelief, waiting to hear the catch. "Free" on the internet is a four letter word that never means free. Being a skeptic myself, I put on my lawyer's hat and read through all the dreadfully dull fine print of the terms of service agreement, the end user's license and the privacy policy, and there is no catch that I can find. It is all fairly boilerplate language similar to unread terms you have agreed to hundreds of times previously on other registrations.

If you have questions about privacy, I have found nothing of concern there either. The only personal information required to register for Invite5 is your name and date of birth, which is the same information you gave when you signed up for Facebook or MySpace. All other information you give is demographic: zip code, country, ethnicity, marital status, income range, gender, whether you are a homeowner, and whether you use tobacco or alcohol. That information is used to tailor the 10 cent ads specific to you. Boloto guarantees that none of your personal information is disclosed, so you remain completely anonymous to the advertisers.

You also have to give a valid email address, which will be used as your user name, but that can be a dummy account that you set up with a free provider. Once you earn enough funds to be paid - $10 - you have to give them an address and telephone number, but that is standard with any affiliate program. Upon earning $600, you will have to provide a social security number, which is required by the IRS for tax purposes.

What about other issues such as spyware, spamming, or charging for an upgrade? The answer is no to all of them. The toolbar is not spyware as it does not track any information about its users. Invite5 places a temporary cookie on your browser when you sign in to your account that is used to bring up ads that match your demographic information. Unlike many other sites, it is not a tracking cookie, because like many of you, Boloto believes that where you go on the internet is not its business. Invite5 advertises that it will always be free to users, and it has an incredibly strong anti-spam policy. Boloto's definition of spam is broad, and anyone caught spamming will forfeit all compensation and be banned permanently.

When GetTheBar came out, some questioned whether advertisers would direct ad dollars, especially in a bad economy, to a form of media where the customer is incentivized to click on an ad for a product that they may have no interest in purchasing. The truth is advertisers give incentives all the time to consumers to pay attention to their ads, whether it be monetary or not. Why else are buxom blonds in ads that have nothing to do with being buxom or being blond? ZenithOptimedia, a British market research firm, reported that advertisers waste more than 200 billion dollars annually on advertising that does not reach its targeted demographic. Advertisers will gladly pay consumers to view an ad provided they are given a captive audience in the demographics the advertiser is targeting. In fact, advertisers already do it all the time - they are called focus groups.

Those concerns also assume that the only purpose of an advertisement is to make a sale; but that assumption is absolutely false. The purpose of a large percentage of advertising is branding, and many major advertisers have avoided big buys on the net because the dominant form of online advertising - pay per click - is too expensive and has a fraud rate estimated to be as high as 30% of the clicks. According to Emarketer, another market research firm, 2009 advertising expenditures in the United States alone will top over 300 billion dollars, with about 10% of that - 3o billion - spent on internet advertising. Of that 30 billion, Emarketer estimates over 8 billion dollars is spent per year on pay per click. That means click fraud accounts for up to 2.4 billion dollars each year. Furthermore, the internet's share of advertising has continued to rise, despite the dismal economy. Advertisers may be cutting back, but the more traditional media of television and print suffer the most.

As a result, if a company is new or wants to roll out a new product line, Invite5 would be a perfect avenue because it is cheap and laser targeted to a captive audience. Networks promoting a new television show and movie studios preparing for the release of the latest blockbuster would love to have not only the inexpensive advertising, but the feedback from consumers on their campaigns. Where else can advertisers get 1000 impressions before a targeted demographic for $100? That price tag goes down further when you consider that an Invite5 user who likes an ad has the option to hit a built in share button and send the ad to their favorite social media sites. That feature has a dual effect: first, it allows an ad to go viral in an organic fashion, potentially reducing the cost of the ad to fractions of a penny per impression; second, it gives advertisers incentive to produce top shelf advertising, which in turn will draw in more consumers. Some people like to claim they pay no attention to advertising, but the truth is they do not pay attention to bad advertising. Over half the people who watched the 2009 Super Bowl did not tune in for the game - they watched to see the new 30 second ads advertisers paid 3 million dollars per pop to show.

The aspect that captures my attention the most though is how this system can benefit the average person and every underfunded non-profit organization. Think about how many people are struggling today with unemployment at near record highs and employers cutting benefits to those fortunate enough to still be employed. What could an extra couple thousand dollars per month do to benefit those people? Think of the foreclosures and bankruptcies that could have been avoided. Consumers' time, opinions and hard earned dollars have forever been the engine driving corporate advertising and ultimately making corporations billions in revenue. This is the first time consumers can share in a piece of the pie for giving their time, effort and money.

As for non-profit organizations, which often do many thankless yet necessary jobs that make our communities better places to live, consider how much more good they could accomplish with not only the extra funds but the extra time presently spent on fund-raising. Imagine school kids not needing to sell coupon books or hold car washes because there is no room in the district's budget for this or that. Think of how school districts could have the funds to hire enough teachers so that classroom ratios are lower and how districts could afford to pay teachers their real value. The possibilities are endless.

Too good to be true? Could be. Change is hard, and there are a number of powerful interests that have no desire in seeing change to the present system for it is making them billions. Maybe consumers will be too suspect of a free offer, having been burned previously. Boloto may not be able to get enough 10 cent ads up and running to keep the momentum going with users. Personally, I think Invite5 has a good chance of creating a paradigm shift in the way online advertising dollars are spent and paid. Enough consumers will get on board to show the suspicious that there is no nefarious purpose underfoot. The younger generations, who already rely on the internet for the vast majority of their information delivery, will have few qualms. Advertisers know consumers are flocking to the internet, and if an advertiser can capture a specific demographic for a fraction of the cost of current advertising, internet or otherwise, they will flock to Invite5 to purchase ad buys. As for Boloto's preparedness, I find it hard to believe a company that has spent this much time and money developing Invite5 and Get The Bar would have overlooked the importance of getting compelling ads up quickly.

Personally, I have already signed up, and if you are an individual and wish to do the same, you can register by clicking the link below. If you are interested in Get The Bar for your company or non-profit, contact me directly.. But whether you register here or elsewhere, do yourself and your family a favor and sign up and then share your link with your friends, your church, you kid's school district and your favorite charity. Maybe I5 will be a miserable failure, but if it is what exactly have you lost?

Suppose in 1998 someone gave you $1000 to invest in a little internet start-up from Menlo, California that had a nonsensical name. You are also given with that $1000 a reasoned explanation of what the company did and how they did it. Despite this explanation you are still suspect about the viability of this company, but hey, you have been given the investment money so it will not cost you anything. What would you have done? Made the investment or pocketed the money and went about your business? What if I told you that start-up was named Google? This is not to suggest that Invite5 is the next Google. But ask yourself this question: what if it is?

John Conley is an Online Marketing Specialist, Network Marketer, Attorney, Blogger and father of 2 beautiful girls. He and his family have homes in Knoxville and St. Augustine. His musings about networking online may be found at Multiple Streams Memo.com. You can sign up for Invite5 at MyBankBar.com. Organizations can contact me directly at jconley@multiplestreamsmemo.com.

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