Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Flashback: Adaboy Patents Targeted In-Game Ads Method

(image source: Ghost Sites)

US Patent 6036601, filed on Feb. 24, 1999 by William Heckel, the CTO of Adaboy (now gone, read story), approved on March 14, 2000: "Method for advertising over a computer network utilizing virtual environments of games."

A method is provided for advertising within the virtual environments of games. Default images of games are replaced by alternative textures having advertisements implemented therein. An ad server coordinates the matching of ads to demographic data of the game player and properly accommodates ads in formats from game information provided by game sources. The game player is visually influenced by advertisements as he or she views the virtual world of the game, as plug-in software replaces the default images with virtual pictures and figures utilizing an advertisement. View statistics are retrieved from the game player's computer or console to rate viewing effectiveness for ad placement confirmation and billing purposes.

News coverage:, Oct.2000: "Adaboy Inc. is carefully surveying the competitive landscape, watching for any infringements on its patent on the business method and the technology for scattering ads throughout online computer games. Campbell is convinced he’s cornered what could be a very big market. The number of people playing games on the Internet has jumped from thousands to millions in just a few years, and Adaboy’s technology could create revenue streams that would encourage game developers to produce still more games, and distribute them for free. Campbell has already inked deals with several game providers, and companies including H.J. Heinz Co., General Nutrition Centers, and Stargate Industries LLC are now placing ads via Adaboy. Problem is, Adaboy isn’t the only company taking aim at the gaming market.", Sept.29, 2000: Adaboy Founders Depart Fledgling Sofware Firm

Other Players:
An article published in Clickz in 2000 lists players in the game advertising space: Adaboy (site dead, see archive), Radiate (site dead, see archive), Games Advertising.

Seems like late dot-com years saw the first in-game ads bubble. Questions: do existing in-game companies infringe the patent? Would be interesting to talk to the people who worked at Adaboy (William Heckel (CTO, bill at, Craig Campbell (CEO), Scott Campbell (VP Sales).

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