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Selling to Kids

Kids Sites Get Their Holiday Groove On

Kids Sites Get Their Holiday Groove On

Up on the monitor — click, click, click — downloaded Web sites featuring St. Nick. Several popular kids entertainment sites are revved up for the holidays. In this installment of Web Browser, we’ve checked out a few to see what sort of seasonal jollies they are offering.

Ranking system: * = Web Waste; ** = Snoozefest; *** = Going for Gold; **** = Jackpot

Web Site & Ranking: Bonus.com http://www.bonus.com ***

Kid Appeal: Bonus.com has a holiday page that incorporates a healthy blend of

entertainment and educational activities. The Christmas section includes

holiday

cards that can be printed and colored, a game in which kids help Santa drop

bags

of toys down chimneys and another where Santa tries out his snowboarding moves.

Unfortunately, the Hanukkah portion of the site is not nearly as entertaining.

Kids can spin a virtual dreidel or light a virtual menorah. Neither activity is

very interactive or exciting. It does get a little better though, as kids are

offered the chance to send Hanukkah Web greetings and download the “Dreidel

Song.” The section also includes recipes for “Cornish Hens in Honey” and “Duck

Breast with Tangy Honey Sauce.” We doubt kids’ Easy Bake Ovens are ready for

this sort of fare. Many of the links on the holiday page are to other sites on

the Internet. Bonus has earned the trust of parents and teachers by

automatically launching software on its homepage that confines visitors within

a

page rather than allowing them to surf the Web. One of the pages Bonus links to

explains the African-American celebration, Kwanzaa. The page does have some

informative facts about the seven-day festival, but some of it would probably

seem dry to kids.

On the Ad Front …: Bonus.com, which bills itself as the SuperSite for Kids,

has a number of different advertisers. The site is heavily promoting “Casper’s

Haunted Christmas” video with a quiz and synopsis of the movie. Kids sites such

as SIKids, Disney Blast and Nick.com also have advertising space. Promotional

space has also been given to Kodak Picture Planet Software, Flick Trix Finger

Bikes and Gateway.

Web Site & Ranking: FreeZone Network http://www.freezone.com ***1/2

Kid Appeal: As always, great graphics and fun colors abound at FreeZone. The

site has cooked up a Ho Ho Hoedown page that includes “Adore-A-Menorah,” where

players must dodge doughnuts to save Hanukkah, and the self-explanatory “Whack

an Elf.” As with most kids’ sites, FreeZone offers some holiday craft ideas,

such as how to make wrapping paper and gift tags. The site has put a new twist

on electronic greetings by allowing kids to send their friends virtual presents

ranging from a stack of cash to their very own elephant. Users can also write

some silly Christmas songs with the site’s “Create-a-Carol.” FreeZone continues

to be primarily an entertainment site, but that is changing. The Gale Group

recently acquired the company and plans to add some educational content to

FreeZone (see this issue’s cover story). Marketing manager Jessica Halem says

the educational component will be so entertaining, kids might not even realize

they’re learning. The site’s Winter Carnival page includes a feature called

“The

Science of Snow,”

On the Ad Front …: Chiquita is sponsoring the Ho Ho Hoedown. Lunch Makers has

an ongoing promotional partnership with FreeZone that includes games and a

chance to win for a free trip to Cartoon Network’s studios. There are also

advertisements for the American Cancer Society and Robotix, which let kids

build

spacecraft, androids and other out-of-this-world items.

Web Site & Ranking: KidsCom http://www.kidscom.com ***

Kid Appeal: KidsCom has taken a different approach to the standard printable

holiday gift tags that most kid sites are offering. It allows users to decorate

their tag on the computer screen with various backgrounds and colors before

printing it out. There is also a holiday word search, coloring pages, and paint

pad. KidsCom also features a couple of seasonal games, including “Goodie Grab

Bag,” where St. Nick must use his sack to catch presents being thrown by one of

his helpers. A few of the links on the holiday page, such as a music machine

and

word game, don’t seem to have anything to do with the holidays, but are still

entertaining.

On the Ad Front …: Most of the advertising space on the site is used for in-

house promotions. IPlanetarium and Disney Blast also have some space on the

site.

Web Site & Ranking: Nikolai http://www.nikolai.com ***1/2

Kid Appeal: Parents can set up a Nikolai Allowance account for kids to buy toys

and other products at Nikolai. There is also a wish list featuring toys from

“Blues Clues,” Madeline and others. Kids can e-mail the list to friends and

family who might be stumped when it comes to gift ideas this holiday season. On

Nikolai’s Christmas page, users can play a round of “Tic Tac Mistletoe” or

crank

out some music on the interactive holiday organ. The site also has a Shockwave

game where kids help Santa deliver presents. Christmas crafts, poems and

recipes

are also featured. Nikolai’s Hanukkah page was pretty sparse when we checked it

out. Kids could read the story of Hanukkah and make their own dreidel.

On the Ad Front …: Chevron Cars sponsors the site’s Adventure Stories page,

and the state of Alabama is running a banner ad promoting its coast. Otherwise,

advertising is pretty scarce.

COPYRIGHT 2000 Phillips Publishing International, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group