Online loyalty marketer MyPoints.com rolled out a new online gift certificate product to cash in on the holidays.
In conjunction with online electronic payment firm Ecount, MyPoints will begin offering Webcertificates — gift certificates that function like a debit card and that can be spent at merchants that accept MasterCard.
MyPoints members earn points for purchasing Webcertificates. The certificate, along with a personalized card, arrives by e-mail or, for an extra fee, via postal mail.
The chief value of the Webcertificate is that it can be redeemed at both online and offline merchants. Ecount, which provides the technology behind the product, has deals with card companies including MasterCard and Visa — enabling merchants to use the Webcertificate as payment in the same way they do for credit and debit cards.
While MyPoints.com’s co-branded version of the Webcertificate only works with merchants that use MasterCard, the company said it plans to roll out a similar program for Visa merchants.
MyPoints also said it will additional point incentives to Webcertificate recipients who spend their certificates at merchants in the MyPoints Shopping! network of affiliated e-tailers.
“Because a MyPoints Program Webcertificate can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted, it gives the recipient infinite spending options,” said Stefan DeCota, vice president of product marketing at MyPoints.com. “This product is exactly the kind of convenience that our members look for from us at this busy time of the year.”
Several online companies have signed with Ecount to offer the Webcertificate to members — including NBCi, pay-for-surf firm AllAdvantage and discount marketer Student Advantage — but Monday’s deal with San Francisco-based MyPoints, which has about 16 million registered users, stands to boost the use of its Webcertificates.
“We are thrilled to work with MyPoints.com to help them deliver an innovative gift solution,” said Chris Wolfington, senior vice president of customer relations, Ecount. “The MyPoints Program Webcertificate not only extends MyPoints.com’s offline commerce initiatives, but also is consistent with their history of delivering value to their members.”
While it runs one of the largest loyalty programs on the Web, MyPoints has suffered along with much of the online marketing industry. Earlier this month saw the resignation of the company’s founder and CEO, Steve Markowitz, following lowered third quarter earnings estimates.