MyPoints Launches UK Office

San Francisco-based online rewards company announced the launch of MyPoints UK today, marking the first of what the company hopes is an extended European presence.

According to research firm Jupiter Media Metrix, household Internet usage throughout Europe will more than double, to 71.6% penetration in 2005 from 34.2% in 2000. MyPoints CEO Steve Markowitz says the UK launch is intended as a “jumping off point” to eventually take advantage of this predicted growth.

“The European Internet industry is entering a period of hyper-development, and is well positioned to take advantage of that,” he says.

MyPoints, which gives points to surfers that can be redeemed for merchandise, frequent-flyer miles, and an array of other items in exchange for viewing advertising and other promotions online, is already the Internet’s largest loyalty marketer. Last August the company acquired Berkeley-based Cybergold, a similar service, which boosted its audience reach to over 17 million members.

The acquisition route may become commonplace for big online promotion companies like MyPoints, as early success seeded the Internet with several competitors, including Netcentives, FreeShop,, and AllAdvantage, to name a few. Online marketing firm Thomas Weisel Partners recently speculated that even offline advertising firms might delve into the market as a means of acquiring such large existing user bases, but no word from MyPoints on either possibility.

“We have every confidence that the success of MyPoints in the U.S. will be replicated in Europe,” says David Brosse, marketing director, MyPoints Europe. “MyPoints UK will give European advertisers and retailers access to a growing audience of responsive consumers and the same powerful suite of permission-based email and Web-enabled direct marketing tools with which to motivate them.”

Unfortunately for the company, “success” from a member-numbers standpoint has yet to boost the stock price back near its $96 high. The company closed at 5 3/8 yesterday, a record 52-week low.

Hayward-based AllAdvantage’s recent SEC filing may best explain this apparent contradiction: Despite availability in more than 20 countries, recent SEC filings report the company spent more than three times in member payoffs last quarter ($32.7 million) than it earned back in revenue ($9.1).

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