Plink, a Facebook Credits-based rewards program, closed an angel investment round of $633,000 at a $5 million valuation.
Consumers who sign up for Plink can earn Facebook Credits when they use their credit card at brick-and-mortar locations, such as Taco Bell, Quiznos and 7-Eleven. Plink is one of a few companies betting on the rise of the social network’s virtual currency, Credits.
“Facebook Credits are proving to be the missing ingredient that bridges the gap between social media marketing and offline sales,” Plink co-founder Peter Vogel said in a press release.
When Plink launched in January, we applauded how the program connects offline transactions with people’s online profiles without placing additional onus on consumers or businesses. Credits accrue and can be redeemed with ease, similar to Frequent Flier Miles. The idea of Facebook Credits being used as rewards is an interesting one; people who might not see value in spending actual money for the virtual currency can earn Credits through Plink, for example, and then might be more likely to spend those Credits on virtual or digital goods. Brands end up subsidizing transactions that help developers and Facebook monetize.
The dilemma now, however, is that Credits are primarily used among players of social games because Credits are only mandatory for in-game transactions, not other digital goods. Studios that offer movies on the social network can use PayPal, thereby avoiding Facebook’s 30 percent fee. Media companies won’t start offering content for Credits until they see demand, but consumers won’t care about Credits until there is content worth spending them on.
Until Facebook makes a push to make non-gamers aware of Credits and get non-game developers to implement the currency, the efforts of Plink and companies like Ifeelgoods could be the primary drivers of the Credits economy. Ifeelgoods works with brands to offer Credits in return for user actions like watching a video or sharing a marketing message.
Angel investment firm Ahlborg Acquisitions and Matomy Media Group, which offers affiliate marketing and reward-based advertising platforms, participated in the round. Plink says the investment will go toward building the product and developing partnerships with restaurants and retailers. Last week, the company announced a partnership with more than 3,500 Arby’s restaurant locations.