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24/7 Debuts Latest Version of Online Loyalty Product

Ad network 24/7 Media unveiled the latest version of its AwardTrack online customer-loyalty product Monday.

Based on technology attained in the company's February acquisition of B2B incentive startup AwardTrack Inc., the hosted system allows clients to offer points to customers to reward actions such as referrals, registrations or purchases. These points are then redeemed for merchandise or services at the client's site.

Monday's update, the first since the acquisition, includes technical updates to support emerging online advertising platforms like broadband and wireless, as well as changes to AwardTrack's pricing scheme.

Previously, clients paid up-front for enabling the incentive program. With the new system, the company's clients can purchase points only as they are turned in for merchandise -- in practice, creating a guarantee that the client will see a return on the investment, said AwardTrack president Brian Anderson.

"In our breakage model, customers can now pay to purchase a blocks of points," he said. "Those costs evaporate if the points don't come back for redemption."

"The success of an online business depends on creating a loyal customer base," Anderson said. "The updated system "helps businesses keep their best customers and acquire new ones with a turnkey private-label solution."

Product fulfillment is included in the AwardTrack package, and is handled by the company's partner-vendors, including Sony, Panasonic, American Airlines and others.

One company using the new system is pan-Asian content portal chinadotcom, which in March announced a joint venture with 24/7 to provide the AwardTrack service to online businesses throughout Asia.

In addition to its hosted incentive-program platform, the updated AwardTrack system revolves around PointsUniverse.com, a consumer point-management and exchange portal. A revamped version of the site, slated for launch in September, allows consumers to view and manage their online loyalty points.

Consumers also can use PointsUniverse.com to locate companies offering AwardTrack incentive programs on the Web.

Additionally, Anderson said his clients could reap synergistic benefits from the potentially interchangeable nature of AwardTrack's points, which might be gained at one client site and redeemed on PointsUniverse.com for merchandise from other clients.

"PointsUniverse.com also offers the convenience of assisting people in finding and using the hundreds of other point and loyalty programs available to them on the market," he said.