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McAfee launches game promotion--for sales reps

Network Associates is betting on an online game with a $500,000 grand prize to land its McAfee antivirus software on more corporate computers.

Software maker Network Associates is betting on an online game with a $500,000 grand prize to land its McAfee antivirus software on more corporate computers.

The game, "Virus Attack," is open only to representatives of value-added resellers, which are companies that sell customized hardware, software or service packages to businesses. The arcade-style game, reminiscent of "Space Invaders," requires players to answer questions about McAfee products before they get to shoot down animated viruses attempting to invade a PC.

Diane Seghposs, vice president of channel marketing for Santa Clara, Calif.-based Network Associates, said it's a way to educate sales representatives about McAfee software beyond the usual lunch-meeting routine.

"They're salespeople; they're really competitive," Seghposs said. "So playing a game seems like a natural way to get their attention."

The contest runs through 2001, with the top scorer in each quarter getting a $500 cash prize. The top scorer at year's end will receive $10,000. Thanks to legal restrictions on games of chance or skill, all players are eligible for the $500,000 grand prize, awarded by random selection based on scores that match the closing Dow Jones industrial average on Jan. 7, 2002. Players start by visiting McAfee's registration site.

Sales managers Seghposs and others talked to had no concerns about the game possibly cutting into productivity, she said. "These are salespeople with numbers to hit," Seghposs said. "They're going to do this on their own time, not when they need to be making sales calls."