Dympol Uses Targeted Advertising to Cut Online Music Costs

Consumer brands have long employed celebrities to build their brands, but this may not be the most effective way of targeting consumers, says Jay Ziskrout, founder and CEO of Dympol, a Vermont and Cambridge, MA-based startup.

“Is just being co-located with the entertainment enough for the magic to rub off on the brand?” asks Ziskrout, whose Web-based service allows advertisers to sponsor discounts on music purchases. Ideally, the transactions through Dympol (pronounced dimple) push artists to sell more and enable advertising brands to more directly reach their desired customers—who ultimately pay less for online music downloads as a result of the partnerships.

“The goal is aligning interests,” says Ziskrout, who’s held positions in the marketing and performing sides of the music industry, (including the role of founding drummer of the ’80s punk rock band Bad Religion). “The consumer wins, retailers win, artists win.”

Dympol (which stands for Discounts Your Music Purchases On-Line) started in 2008 and has conducted its transactions directly through its own website for about a year. (It also offers a toolbar plug-in through Firefox). At the Dympol website, users can select songs to purchase. The songs (provided by Amazon.com) have brand-sponsored rebates attached to them, which consumers can cash in through PayPal accounts. This allows a consumer to buy a song for, say, 68 cents or 88 cents online through Dympol instead of its original price of around 99 cents and up. In exchange, the advertiser gets to align its brand with the latest hot band, and make consumers feel good by offering up the discounts. “We’re letting advertisers target the kind of people they want to reach,” Ziskrout says.

But this isn’t the main avenue the company sees itself operating through, Ziskrout says. Dympol is developing an application programming interface (API) designed to plug in with parties that sell music content through their own websites, including individual artists and bands, music marketers (like Framingham, MA’s Nimbit), big-box retailers, and independent music stores.

JayZiskrout“We came to the conclusion that our short and medium-term best prospects for success and delivery were to focus on being a business-to-business provider with the API, instead of spending the resources required to become a successful destination,” he says.

Dympol’s application programming interface, which operates its service through the back end of other consumer websites, will vary depending on the music retailer it works with. For sites that don’t store user account information, consumers will receive the discount immediately on their song purchases. When consumers use Dympol on sites that create user accounts, the discount comes in the form of a credit that customers can redeem on that particular retailer’s site. It’s essentially like creating a customer loyalty program. The advertising sponsors’ content will … Next Page »

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