Since 2008, Airlock Alpha and the GenreNexus has treated San Diego Comic-Con as exactly what it is: the "Super Bowl" of geekdom.
It's a convention that is a must-travel for not only fans, but members of the entertainment media. And all the GenreNexus sites -- Airlock Alpha, Rabid Doll and Inside Blip -- are looking forward to their fifth visit to the west coast convention in 2012.
The problem is that making the trip to San Diego and covering the convention for an extended weekend is expensive. In the first three years, it cost thousands of dollars to provide coverage that came not only that weekend, but for months afterward.
With the economy going south, GenreNexus has worked to cut down those expenses big time, and did it in 2011 at just a quarter of the cost of the previous year.
But even though the economy is showing some growth, online advertising has yet to experience too much of that uptake. So Airlock Alpha and its sister sites is offering something it has never done before: Offering exclusive sponsorship for Comic-Con coverage.
"Earlier this year, we joined the Gamerati Advertising Network, 35 sites dedicated to entertainment, gaming and comics, and we thought since we were with a new advertising network, we should try a new approach to funding the annual Comic-Con trip," said Michael Hinman, the founder of Airlock Alpha, and the head of Nexus Media Group which runs GenreNexus. "It's going to be very difficult for us to budget in this trip with other expenses involved in running a group of sites, and we thought this would be a great way to offer something different while allowing us to provide the unique perspective we bring our readers at Comic-Con."
In the past, Airlock Alpha and the other GenreNexus sites have published hundreds of stories, dozens of videos and even dedicated several episodes of its popular podcast Alpha Waves Radio to the annual event. While many stories are published the weekend of Comic-Con, on a special page, other stories are saved for when they are more timely with the release of new episodes or even new shows. That means coverage can last all year.
"And so can a sponsorship," Hinman said.
Full sponsorship will include, among other things, exclusive advertising on Comic-Con story pages, a 15-second video ad ahead of all Comic-Con videos produced by the sites, and a 15-second ad after all videos that are not Comic-Con based -- for the rest of the year.
It also includes a two 30-second advertising slots on Alpha Waves Radio for the rest of the year, both from the full show found on iTunes, that is heard by more than a thousand listeners each broadcast. It will also be included on the abridged segments that air on War Pig Radio, which boasts more than 40,000 listeners.
There are other advantages as well, including full-page reskins of all the GenreNexus sites and pages during Comic-Con itself.
"Basically, it is Comic-Con coverage on Airlock Alpha, brought to us exclusively by you," Hinman said.
"Even though we will be mentioning the sponsor in our coverage, nothing else about how we cover Comic-Con will change," said Hinman, who serves as Editor-In-Chief over all the GenreNexus sites. "We still keep what we cover and how we cover it completely independent from advertising.
"And we also will be choosing our sponsor very carefully. If we cannot bring in a sponsor that we are comfortable with sharing with our readers on a constant basis during this event, then we will look for some other ways to fund our trip to San Diego this year."
Companies or groups interested in exploring the sponsorship opportunity offered at a special rate should contact the Gamerati Advertising Network directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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