iWon.com Gave Away Ten Million Dollars To A Lucky Contestant
Public awareness campaigns were one of the ways in which dot-coms sought to grow their customer base.
These included television ads, print ads, and targeting of professional sporting events. Many dot-coms named themselves with onomatopoeic nonsense words that they hoped would be memorable and not easily confused with a competitor. Super Bowl XXXIV in January 2000 featured seventeen dot-com companies that each paid over two million dollars for a thirty-second spot. By contrast, in January 2001, just three dot-coms bought advertising spots during Super Bowl XXXV. In a similar vein, CBS-backed iWon.com gave away ten million dollars to a lucky contestant on an April 15, 2000, half-hour primetime special that was broadcast on CBS.
IWon.com is a free casual game site and web portal that offers the chance to win cash and prizes through activities such as clicking through links or playing online games. Originally, IWon was highly similar to Yahoo! (at the time), but offered points (good toward daily prizes) for using their search engine and various other features, such as news and weather reports.
iWon.com Launches New Destination Portal - Featuring The Internet's Largest Guaranteed Cash Giveaway
Portal Combines Leading Internet Content With Innovative Consumer Reward Program; Giveaways of $10,000 Every Day, $1 Million Every Month and $10 Million on Tax Day are Just a Click Away
New York, October 5, 1999 - iWon (www.iwon.com), a new destination Internet portal that combines world-class search, content and functionality with the Internet's largest guaranteed cash giveaway, launched today. With backing from CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS), iWon.com boasts a unique combination of top-quality content partners and the ultimate in consumer loyalty programs slated to redefine "stickiness."
By simply using the site to search the Web, send and receive email, go shopping, read the news, follow sports and seek other information regularly found on Internet portals, iWon.com users earn entries with practically every click. iWon.com will give away, to its users, $10,000 every day, $1 million every month and $10 million on Tax Day (April 15, 2000). The $10,000 Daily winners will be posted on the site each day while the $1 million Monthly winners and the $10 million Tax Day winner will be announced in prime time on the CBS Television Network. Entries accumulated by users are displayed and updated on a real-time basis through an innovative and patent-pending entry tracking system that appears at the top of each page. Participation is free.
In exchange for a majority ownership in iWon, Inc., CBS will provide approximately $70 million in advertising, promotion and other consideration to iWon.com. CBS Chief Executive Officer Mel Karmazin and CBS Chief Financial Officer Fred Reynolds will serve on iWon.com's Board of Directors. Neil Austrian, President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Football League, will serve as iWon.com's Chairman, and will continue in his role with the NFL. Bill Daugherty and Jonas Steinman, the Founders and co-CEOs of iWon.com, will also serve on the Board of Directors. Chase Capital Partners, an affiliate of Chase Manhattan Bank, has also committed to invest in iWon, Inc.
"iWon is a unique product unlike any on the Web," said Mel Karmazin. "We believe it has the opportunity to build a powerful and successful destination portal for all types of Web users that is both useful and fun."
World-Class Search, Content and Functionality
iWon.com has entered into strategic partnerships with leading Internet companies, including CBS News, MarketWatch.com, SportsLine.com, Inktomi, Weather.com, Travelocity.com, Mail.com and others, to create the ultimate destination for web users. The site utilizes simple and intuitive navigation, and is targeted at mainstream consumers. "Partnering with CBS gives iWon.com access to the premier source of news and programming in the world," said co-CEO Bill Daugherty. "Leveraging CBS-owned or affiliated Internet properties such as CBS News, MarketWatch, SportsLine and Hollywood.com, as well as these organizations' extensive marketing reach, provides us with a distinct competitive advantage in the portal marketplace." Additional content partners include Autoweb.com, Apartments.com, CMP.com, eShare.com, Gamesville.com, Gist.com, HealthScout.com, JFAX.com, Opt-inEmail.com, Petersons.com, Realtor.com and Yack.com. The site also features search, Web directory and shopping engine functionality from Inktomi Corporation, a leader in Internet infrastructure applications.
iWon.com's Breakthrough Technology
iWon.com was designed and developed in collaboration with Sapient Corporation, a leading e-services consultancy. The site features an innovative and patent-pending entry tracking system that appears at the top of each page. "iWon.com's unique entry tracking system will allow our users to keep a running tally of the number of entries they have accumulated into the $10,000 Daily, $1 million Monthly and $10 million Tax Day giveaways," said iWon.com co-CEO Jonas Steinman.
iWon.com has an experienced and diverse management team and board of directors, with expertise in marketing, business development and technology. Bill Daugherty and Jonas Steinman are Founders of iWon and serve as co-CEOs of the company.
Daugherty was previously Senior Vice President of Business Development at the National Basketball Association, where he oversaw the development of the NBA Store on 5th Avenue in New York City and the NBA @ 50 integrated marketing program, along with other high profile programs and businesses. Steinman was previously a General Partner of Chase Capital Partners, a globally diversified, multi-billion dollar private equity fund. In that capacity, he was responsible for evaluating, negotiating and monitoring venture capital, growth equity and leveraged buyout investments.
As previously noted, Mr. Austrian will serve as iWon.com's Chairman while continuing to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Football League.
Advertising Campaign and Media Commitment
iWon.com's $40+ million launch advertising campaign will run from October 11, 1999 through April 17, 2000. The campaign is comprised of television commercials and radio spots, all of which utilize the tagline "why wouldn't you?". The advertisements will air on network television, as well as spot radio in 34 markets. Berlin Cameron & Partners of New York developed the campaign.
Nearly 100 million American adults have participated in a sweepstakes in the last year. Sweepstakes participants skew favorably in terms of household income, credit card usage, and Internet access, compared to the general population.
iWon.com has partnered with DoubleClick, the Internet's leading advertising solutions company, to represent the company in its sponsorship and advertising relationships.
iWon.com, based in Irvington, NY, is a CBS-backed destination Internet portal combining world-class search, content and functionality with the Internet's largest guaranteed cash giveaway. Located at www.iwon.com, iWon.com is giving away, to its users, $10,000 every day, $1 million every month and $10 million on Tax Day (April 15, 2000). Users collect entries into the Daily, Monthly and Tax Day giveaways for practically everything they do on the site - from searching the Web and reading the news to checking their emails and tracking their stocks. The more you use iWon.com, the more entries you collect and the greater your chances of winning. Participation is free.
Lee Truong looked more than a little surprised when Leeza Gibbons announced to the entire country that he was the first-ever iWon.com $10 Million prize winner. But Lee's first big shock had come a few days prior to the show when an iWon camera crew showed up at his front door to tell him he had been randomly selected as one of four iWon $10 Million hopefuls...
His deep sleep suddenly interrupted by a knock at the front door, Lee was obviously not expecting anyone important when he stepped outside his home to see who had awakened him.
Lee, you see, answered the door wearing only his boxer shorts and a t-shirt. So what did the 24-year-old San Jose State University student do when he realized an iWon camera crew was standing there, filming his every movement?
"I went and put on a hat."
That's right - of the four iWon members chosen to participate in the "iWon.com Annual $10 Million Giveaway" TV Show, Lee can say he is the only one who was told the good news in his underwear.