The Webs New Dimension

Crafting a highly interactive Web environment is really like putting the pretzels next to the beer

Crafting a highly interactive Web environment is really like putting the pretzels next to the beer.

Thats the philosophy of Jay Diamond, president and CEO of Mediadome. Diamonds idea is that to really engage their most valued users, Web sites need content-placement tools that, in effect, let them put the munchies and the suds right next to each other, thus increasing the chances someone will pick up one of each.

Mediadome has created an unusual "super-browser" that lets its customers position multiple floating Web pages in a three-dimensional (3-D), graphical environment. The Santa Clara, Calif., start-up said its software — which it intends to license to content and e-commerce companies — gives customers much higher click-through rates than simple links or traditional Web banner ads.

"This isnt a 3-D browser," Diamond said. "Were using 3-D to let people get information faster."

Mediadome has now scored its first customer: CNet Networks last week launched a Mediadome super-browser designed for its GameSpot gaming site — just 10 weeks after CNet first looked at the technology.

"We immediately saw the opportunity to use it," said Vince Broady, vice president of CNets consumer division. "What Mediadome provides thats unique is the ability to make the browsing experience nonlinear."

Diamond, previously a marketing executive at Intel, said Mediadomes ability to automatically group together multiple screens of contextually related content yields comparatively high click-through rates. Mediadome conducted a six-month trial last year, using America Onlines Winamp media player with its own software. In the test, it pulled up the Web pages on displaying the CDs of the artist a Winamp user was listening to; Diamond said the Amazon pages had click-through rates of more than 6 percent.

Founded in May 2000, Mediadome has received an undisclosed amount of financing from Intel and Superscape, whose 3-D modeling software engine Mediadome uses in its browser. Mediadome is unrelated to the Mediadome site that Intel launched in 1996 — and later shut down — to promote multimedia content for PCs.

Mediadome executives would not provide pricing information for the companys software and service, but they said customers will pay a monthly fee based on usage.