Beenz, the troubled online rewards brand, which its creators envisaged as an alternative global currency, has been bought by Carlson Marketing Group, following months of speculation about its future.
The “multi-million dollar” deal will “dramatically enhance the ability of packaged goods providers to identify their end customers and build better relationships with them,” according to a Carlson spokesperson.
The acquisition of Beenz.com includes the hardware and software assets, the Beenz brand and all the company’s intellectual property assets, including its patents.
“The merging of the Beenz patents with our existing proprietary technology opens a whole new frontier in building brand loyalty for our clients,” says Carlson Marketing Group president and chief executive Jim Ryan.
Ryan adds: “The RewardzCodes technology and Carlson’s expertise in relationship marketing will expand traditional loyalty concepts into exciting applications for the consumer packaged goods industry – an industry that has had limited options to identify customers and build strong consumer loyalty.”
He says several “unique applications” are in development for the Beenz brand and technology. They include offline applications, notably via scanned barcodes on supermarket products. This was an area that Beenz had been pursuing last year before its financial problems.
Ryan says the Beenz system for developing unique on-package award codes “will be used to further develop our Gold Points Rewards program internationally. Owning these patents puts us in a strong leadership position.”
Beenz.com president and chief executive Stephen Limpe says: “In the midst of the downturn in the Internet economy and a challenging business environment, we worked tirelessly to maintain the Beenz network and to continue the development of our sophisticated technology while aggressively and effectively mitigating the business’s liabilities. Today’s announcement marks the successful culmination of this difficult process and enables us to return significant value to our shareholders.”
With more than 5 million registered accounts and a presence in many countries, Beenz.com became one of the highest profile Internet brands in 18 months. But the departure of its founders and chief marketing officer earlier this year signalled a change in the UK-based company’s fortunes.
Carlson has more than 6 million Gold Points Reward members, who earn and redeem points at more than 3,500 partner locations. The points, which never expire, are redeemable for rewards such as travel, hotel stays, cruises, airline miles, restaurant meals, car rentals, flowers and merchandise and personal services.