If you’ve ever been in a cafe, an airport or other public place that didn’t have free WiFi then you know how frustrating it can be. Cloud Nine Media is aiming to bring more WiFi to the world by offering branded packages to locations, allowing these businesses to provide WiFi as a service, but offsetting the costs.
For businesses, they’re given a captive audience, with a full-screen, high-impact ad placement. Advertisers can choose between having Interstitial ads, or requiring a direct response action such as the entry of an email address. All of the ads can be targeted to the venue, the location and the device, raising the overall effectiveness.
At present, Cloud Nine has sponsorship campaigns with 9 major US airports (as well as a number of cafes, hotels and transit locations in the US, Canada and the UK) and it boasts a client list that includes Google, Old Spice and Hipmunk. For an example of how the service works, check out this screencast from the Cloud Nine implementation at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport in North Carolina:
The team behind Cloud Nine is diverse. Co-founder Sebastian Tonkin comes from the Google Analytics team, whereas his partner Henry Liu was an investment banker at Merrill Lynch before co-founding InciteBot.
The pilot program has been running for the past 12 months, but as of today Cloud Nine goes live to the world and begins its push. The market is not without competition, however. Boingo and GoGo are the two behemoths of the industry, and a recent partnership between Boingo and Skype (while expensive for users) makes connecting even easier. What will remain to be seen is whether Cloud Nine can get venues to switch, but the door is still wide open for those places who don’t yet provide WiFi.