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GoFish Makes Catching Tadpole Dollars Easier

Linda R. Sittenfeld, Senior Producer
Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008 | 4:07 PM ET

Kids have between $20 billion and $175 billion in spending power, so what's the best way for businesses to access that cash? Tabreez Verjee, president of GoFish, has the answer.

What is GoFish?
GoFish is a network that caters to tweens and teens engaging in activities that brand advertisers' value — virtual worlds, online gaming, that sort of thing. The total size of the network, the number of people who use it each month, is 18 million people in the U.S., 65 million worldwide. What we do is monetize this network by selling ads to Fortune 200 companies catering to 6- to 17-year-olds.

Why would advertisers come to GoFish rather than take out ads on their own?
If you're a brand advertiser trying to reach kids on the Internet you're looking at Disney, Nickelodeon. But there's an explosion of other Web sites which kids are discovering en masse. Brand advertisers are looking to reach all those sites. Right now it's too fragmented. We bring them together in a collective. We aggregate them. We provide a one-stop solution to get to them.

Who are the brand advertisers you're catering to?
We have four categories: In entertainment, it's Disney, Cartoon Network. In consumer packaged goods it's Kellogg's, Mead (school supplies), Pepperidge Farm. In consumer electronics it's Nintendo, Sony, Electronic Arts, Verizon, ATT, Microsoft. In retail it's Lego, Random House (kid's books).

What are some of your sites?
We started up in July of 2007, signed our first site up in August and are now at 18 million people per month.

In gaming we have miniclip.com. A well known dress up site we have is cartoondollemporium.com. In virtual worlds worlds we have whyville.net, weeworld.com. And one of our community site is piczo.com.

So how's business?
The trend is that children, more than any other demographic, are not looking at print, or even TV. They are spending their time online. There's been enormous growth in Internet advertising. $30 billion is spent for ads on the Internet. $10 billion of that $30 billion is brand advertising.

The average Saturday morning cartoon show has 600,000 viewers. To get a monthly number you can't even multipy by four because they are not all unique viewers. On our network you get 18 million unique people every month.

We just started up a sales organization. Our Q3 revenue was $500,000. Our Q4 revenue was $1.5 million. So we're growing quickly. We're not profitable yet, there's a little lag, we have to hire people. But we have fantastic response from brand advertisers looking for something like this. And we've just hired former Yahoo! executive Jim Moloshok as our executive chairman so that'll be very exciting.