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1. WO2007098105 - INTERNET CONTEST

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

CIaims

1. A method for directing internet traffic to web sites, the method comprising the steps of: providing an auction in which potential sponsors of an online scavenger hunt bid to host a target of the online scavenger hunt on the sponsor's web site;
selecting one or more of the potential sponsors as winning sponsors; and
providing the online scavenger hunt in which a target object is hosted by a web site of the sponsor that wins the auction and in which participants in the online scavenger hunt navigate to the hosting web site in search of the target object, thereby driving internet traffic to the web site of the winning sponsor.
2. The method of claim 1 wherein the auction comprises a blind auction.
3. The method of claim 1 wherein the potential sponsors bid to host an entire scavenger hunt.
4. The method of claim 1 wherein the winning sponsor is selected by determining the highest bidder at a predetermined time.
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the, potential sponsors bid to host one or more portions of the scavenger hunt.
6. The method of claim 1 wherein the portions comprise contest segments during which the target is to be hosted on the winning sponsor's web site.
7. The method of claim 1 wherein each of the contest segments comprise a fixed duration of time.
8. The method of claim 1 wherein the contest segments comprise different durations of time.
9. The method of claim 1 wherein the contest segments are attributed to a specific date and time.
10. The method of claim 1 wherein the contest segments are attributed to a specific date and time range.
11. The method of claim 1 wherein the contest segments are ordered.
12. The method of claim 1 wherein the winning sponsor is selected by determining the first potential sponsor to bid a predetermined amount of money.
13. The method of claim 12 wherein the predetermined amount of money varies for different portions of the scavenger hunt.
14. The method of claim 1 wherein the target object is hosted by the winning sponsor during the one or more portions of the scavenger hunt bid on by the winning sponsor.
15. The method of claim 1 wherein the target object is hosted by the winning sponsor during randomly selected portions of the scavenger hunt.
16. The method of claim 1 further comprising tracking navigation histories of the participants.
17. The method of claim 1 further comprising awarding a prize to one or more of the participants based at least in part on their navigation histories.
18. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize is awarded to the participants who visited all of the sponsor's web sites.
19. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize is awarded to the participants who visited the most of the sponsor's web sites.
20. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize is awarded to the participants who find one or more targets.
21. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize is awarded to the participants who find one or more targets and solve puzzles.
22. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize is awarded to the participants who find one or more targets, solve puzzles and collect electronic keys.
23. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize changes during the scavenger hunt.
24. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize is based at least in part on one or more of a number of participants in the scavenger hunt, a number of sponsors for the scavenger hunt, or an amount of money bid to host the target object.
25. The method of claim 1 further comprising receiving payment from the winning sponsor based at least in part on an amount the winning sponsor bid to sponsor the scavenger hunt.

26. The method of claim 1 further comprising receiving payment from the winning sponsor based at least in part on the number of participants that navigate to the web site of the winning sponsor.
27. The method of claim 1 wherein the target object comprises one or more of an icon, a word, an HTML object or an image.
28. The method of claim 1 wherein all of the web sites are attributed to a single domain. 29. The method of claim 1 wherein the web sites are selected from a plurality of domains. 30. A system for modifying the functionality of a web page, the system comprising:
client software running in a web browser for use by a contestant in an online contest, wherein the client software presents added contest functionality to browsed web sites participating in the online contest; and
a client interface server in communication with the client software, the client interface server for determining if the web browser is presenting a web site participating in the online contest, and if so, transmitting instructions to the client software to present such added contest functionality with the browsed web sites.
31. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software comprises a Java applet.
32. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software comprises a contest information screen.
33. The system of claim 1 wherein the information screen comprises asynchronous
JavaScript.
34. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software comprises a toolbar.
35. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software is configured according to the Wireless Application Protocol standard.
36. The system of claim 1 wherein the online contest comprises an scavenger hunt in which participants navigate to a plurality of web sites in search of a target object.
37. The system of claim 1 wherein the added contest functionality comprises presentation of the target object.

38. The system of claim 1 wherein the added contest functionality comprises presentation of an interactive puzzle.
39. The system of claim 1 wherein the added contest functionality comprises presentation of contest status information.
40. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest status information comprises one or more of a number of participants participating in the contest, a score board comprising current leaders of the contest or a prize for winning the contest.
41. The system of claim 1 wherein the added contest functionality facilitates
communication among participants in the online contest.
42. The system of claim 1 wherein the communication among participants comprises electronic messaging.
43. The system of claim 1 further comprising a data storage module for storing identifiers of the web sites participating in the online contest.
44. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software further transmits browser history data from the web browser to the client interface server for storage in the data storage module.
45. The system of claim 1 wherein the client interface server determines if the web browser is presenting a web site participating in the online contest by comparing identifiers of browsed web sites with a list of identifiers of the web sites participating in the online contest.
46. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software obfuscates the identifiers of the browsed web sites.
47. The system of claim 1 wherein the browsed web sites are obfuscated using a Bloom filter.
48. A system for facilitating communication among participants in an online scavenger hunt, the system comprising:
client software running in a web browser and used by a plurality of participants in an online scavenger hunt, wherein the client software determines the current status of each of the plurality of participants in the online scavenger hunt;
a contest server for receiving the current status of each of the participants from the client software and transmitting the current status of at least a subset of the participants to the client software; and
a contest information component presented by the client software for displaying the current status of the subset of the participants.
49. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest information component comprises a toolbar. 50. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest information component comprises an information screen.
51. The system of claim 1 wherein the information screen is implemented using
asynchronous JavaScript.
52. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software comprises a downloadable Java applet.
53. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest server further transmits a current status of the online scavenger hunt.
54. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest server further transmits a current status of a plurality of online scavenger hunts.
55. The system of claim 1 wherein the current status of a plurality of online scavenger hunts comprises a number of active online scavenger hunts, announcements regarding upcoming scavenger hunts, and available prizes.
56. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest information component further presents advertisements to the participants in the online scavenger hunt.
57. The system of claim 1 wherein the current status of the subset of the participants comprises one or more of the number of participants in the online scavenger hunt, a current prize for winning the online scavenger hunt, a number of participating web sites a participant has successfully found, a time remaining in the online scavenger hunt, a hint about a current location of a target of the online scavenger hunt or a hint about a future location of a target of the online scavenger hunt.
58. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest information component further provides messaging functionality to the web browser, thereby facilitating communication among the participants.

59. The system of claim 1 wherein the contest information component is configured in accordance with the Wireless Application Protocol standard.
60. The system of claim 1 wherein the client software presents added functionality to browsed web sites participating in the online scavenger hunt.
61. The system of claim 1 wherein the added functionality comprises presentation of a target object for the online scavenger hunt.
62. The system of claim 1 wherein the added functionality comprises presentation of an interactive puzzle for the online scavenger hunt.
63. The system of claim 1 wherein the subset of the participants comprises a team of participants.
64. The system of claim 1 wherein the current status of the subset of participants is displayed in the web browser.
65. A system for facilitating communication among participants in an online scavenger hunt, the system comprising:
client software running in a web browser and used by a plurality of participants in an online scavenger hunt, wherein the client software determines the current status of each of the plurality of participants in the online scavenger hunt, the client software configured to transmit the current status of each of the participants to a contest server and receive the current status of at least a subset of the participants from the contest server; and
a contest information component presented by the client software for displaying the current status of the subset of the participants.
66. A system for facilitating communication among participants in an online scavenger hunt, the system comprising:
a contest server for receiving the current status of each of the participants from client software running in a web browser and used by a plurality of participants in an online scavenger hunt and transmitting the current status of at least a subset of the participants to the client software, thereby facilitating the display of the current status of the subset of the participants via the client software.
67. A method of facilitating a team-based online scavenger hunt, the method comprising:
providing an online scavenger hunt in which a target object is hosted by web sites and in which participants in the online scavenger hunt navigate to the hosting web sites in search of the target object;
providing client software running in a web browser and used by the participants in the online scavenger hunt, wherein the client software facilitates communication among the participants, thereby allowing the participants to cooperate with each other to find the target object.
68. The method of claim 1 wherein the participants are organized by teams, and members of each team cooperate with each other to find the target object.
69. The method of claim 1 wherein the participants are assigned to a team randomly.
70. The method of claim 1 wherein the participants are assigned to a team based on the participants' performance in one or more previous online scavenger hunts.
71. The method of claim 1 wherein the participants select other participants to join a team. 72. The method of claim 1 further comprising awarding a prize to the first team to find the target object.
73. The method of claim 1 further comprising determining a number of hosting web sites found by each member of the first team to find the target object.
74. The method of claim 1 further comprising allocating portions of the prize based at least in part on the number of hosting web sites found by each member of the first team to find the target object.
75. The method of claim 1 further comprising calculating a rating for each participant based on their performance in the online scavenger hunt.
76. The method of claim 1 wherein the client software is configured according to the Wireless Application Protocol standard.
77. The method of claim 1 where in the communication among the participants comprises one or more of electronic mail, voice communication or instant messaging.
78. The method of claim 1 wherein the target object comprises an icon, text or an image. 79. The method of claim 1 further comprising facilitating an online auction among sponsors of the online scavenger hunt, and wherein the web sites are hosted by hosting the sponsors, thereby driving internet traffic to the sponsors web sites.
80. The method of claim 1 wherein the web sites are hosted by sponsors of the online scavenger hunt.
81. A method for providing online entertainment, the method comprising:
(a) providing an online scavenger hunt in which participants collect a series of electronic keys with which the participants can claim a prize;
(b) encouraging the participants to navigate to a first web page;
(c) presenting, in response to a participant viewing the first web page, an interactive screen in which the participant solves a puzzle by unscrambling a scrambled word, and upon determining the word, instructing the participant to locate the unscrambled word on the first web page;
(d) in response to the participant locating the unscrambled word, providing one of the series of electronic keys and an identifier of a next web page ;
(e) repeating steps (b) - (d) wherein the next web page is the first web page until a predetermined stopping point; and
(f) presenting a target to the at least one participant, thereby allowing the at least one participant to interact with the target.
82. The method of claim 1 wherein the target is one or more of an icon, text or an image. 83. The method of claim 1 further comprising awarding a prize to the at least one participant.
84. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize is monetary.
85. The method of claim 1 wherein the prize changes during the duration of the online scavenger hunt.
86. The method of claim 1 further comprising soliciting sponsors for the online scavenger hunt.
87. The method of claim 1 wherein the solicitation of sponsors comprises facilitating an online auction in which sponsors bid to host at least a portion of the online scavenger hunt. 88. The method of claim 1 further comprising presenting advertisements from the sponsors to the participants during the online scavenger hunt.

89. The method of claim 1 further comprising directing participants to web pages hosted by the sponsors of the online scavenger hunt.
90. The method of claim 1 wherein the at least one participant interacts with the target by selecting the target on a web site.
91. The method of claim 1 wherein the predetermined stopping point comprises at least one participant collecting at least a subset of the series of the electronic keys.
92. The method of claim 1 wherein the predetermined stopping point comprises a date and time.
93. A method for determining if a web site is in a list of web sites, the method comprising: obfuscating URLs associated with a plurality of web sites by applying a Bloom Filter to each of the URLs;
transmitting a list of the obfuscated URLs to a client machine;
transmitting a client plug-in to a web browser, the client plug-in configured to:
receive the transmitted list of obfuscated URLs;
for each web site visited by the web browser, obfuscate a URL of a web site currently presented at the client by applying the Bloom Filter;
compare the obfuscated URL of the web site currently presented at the client to the list of obfuscated web sites; and
determine if the web site currently presented at the client is in the list of web sites based on the results of the comparison.
94. The method of claim 1 wherein the plurality of web sites are hosted by sponsors of an online scavenger hunt.
95. The method of claim 1 wherein the list of encrypted URLs and the client plug-in are transmitted to the client machine in response to a request to participate in an online scavenger hunt.
96. The method of claim 1 further comprising providing an electronic key in response to a determination that the web site currently presented at the client is in the list of web sites.
97. The method of claim 1 further comprising displaying a message indicating the result of the comparison, thereby communicating to a user whether the web site currently presented at the client is in the list of web sites.