Were you thinking Etsy? Twitter? Hipmunk, perhaps? Betabeat did an in informal survey, and the start-up that wins cutest is… Loffles! Which is why we’re allowed to write about them even though they’re not based in New York. Loffles. It’s like the lottery, plus ROFLing. Loffles loffles loffles. How do you write that on a term sheet without giggling?
What is Loffles? This question leads us to the other nifty thing about this Providence, Rhode Island and Gladwyne, Pennsylvania-based start-up. Loffles, which raised at least $162,000 (UPDATE: A Loffles rep called us–Loffles raised the full $500,000 they were looking for) in seed money this spring, boils the web start-up business model down to its most basic level, incentivizing people to look at advertising and give up information about themselves so that advertisers can more effectively target their markets. Isn’t it crazy that this whole web 2.0 boom–Google, Facebook, Twitter–is motivated by advertising?
Enter Loffles: Where Watching Is Winning! People answer demographic questions and watch short ad spot for a chance to win a prize. Basically the same mechanism as Facebook, or those banner ads where you had to shoot the deer, but more straightforward. “We talked with people and found out what they wanted. That was easy: they wanted free cool stuff. Next we talked to the advertisers. We found out that they wanted their ads watched by the right people. So we created a system that presented targeted ads to specific demographics and threw in some fun, branded viewer quiz questions to prove to advertisers that the right people were watching. Then we bought prizes.”
Caveat: This is probably a terrible business idea.