IQ News: NetCentives to Launch Online Rewards Program

In an effort to give Web users a nudge to buy items over the Internet or subscribe to an online publication, Netcentives, a new Internet promotions company, will launch ClickRewards, an incentives program, in November. The San Francisco-based startup has a roster of partners, including Broderbund, Macy’s and GolfWeb, plus airlines and hotel chains such as American, Continental and Hilton Hotels.
Consumers who participate in a variety of online activities, from making transactions to filling out surveys on ClickRewards’ member site ( will accumulate points that can be redeemed for merchandise, frequent-flier miles or hotel stays. Netcentives will support ClickRewards with a $2-3 million ad budget through the first quarter of 1998. The ad buys have yet to be determined.
Netcentives expects to sign up 15 member sites in categories such as product manufacturers, financial services, publishing and search engines by its Nov. 1 commercial launch, said chief executive West Shell III. The company also hopes to expand its roster of rewards partners. Member companies essentially pay for sales leads on a basis of points earned by consumers. Other than software installation costs, there are no membership fees, Shell said.
One participant, CNET Direct, will use ClickRewards to boost software sales on its BuyDirect site, said William Headapohl, CNET executive vice president of e-commerce. The company plans to offer its 300 software vendors the option of participating in ClickRewards. The move would plant the ClickRewards logo on select merchandise within The vendors could use the program as both a purchase incentive and a means to pull in a more diverse shopping crowd, he added.
Macy’s will use ClickRewards at to coincide with its online Christmas gift-giving. program. “For me, ClickRewards is more a means of driving not necessarily the purchase but what you purchase or how much you spend,” said Kim Miller, Macy’s promotion director of special services.