IQ News: Consumers Know Beenz

About Online Incentives
If you don’t know beenz now, you may soon, thanks to a new campaign breaking today. A print effort for The Beenz Company will tout beenz, the New York-based firm’s eponymous Web currency, which the company hopes will attract new visitors, create coveted “stickiness” and convert surfers to buyers.
Retailers buy licenses from Beenz, and then offer the faux currency to users to get them to register, or complete surveys, for example. Users can collect beenz across a network of sites and redeem them for merchandise or discounts. directs users to network sites, and collects revenue from ads there.
Beenz CEO Philip Letts said he wanted to “get people thinking and laughing, to start this underground type dialog around it.” The New York-based Romann Group, which touts its trademarked “brandwidth” online awareness focus, designed the logo and three ads targeting both consumers and trade with copy such as “attention, greedy bastards.”
“There’s a Net attitude you have to capture,” said creative director Gad Romann. “If the Net had a currency, it wouldn’t be pictures of George Washington. We needed something … more fun and global.”
The “b” in the beenz logo looks like the British pound symbol, a throwback to Beenz’s roots-it was founded in the U.K. in 1997, moving to New York in March of 1999, the same month beenz launched globally. The majority of the 50 retail partners, or “beenz traders,” are in New York. California “traders” include Web ‘zine gamespot in San Francisco, wineseller Virtual Vineyards in Palo Alto, and in San Diego.
“The challenge for beenz will be … getting a critical amount of merchants who have salable goods [for redemption],” said Ken Kerr, an analyst with The Gartner Group, Durham, N.C. “On the other side, one of the hard things about Internet commerce is getting people to pull the trigger. If you can get somebody to buy something at your site, even if they’re just spending beenz, it could be a good ploy to generate sales.” ƒ