MyPoints CEO: Technology Buy Will Deepen Database

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MyPoints.com Inc. chairman/CEO Steve Markowitz said last week that the company's final $2.4 million acquisition of Experian's database and reward technology gives his firm the pole position in the Web marketing industry's race to fuse online and offline consumer data.


"This gives us a major strategic advantage vs. other companies in the industry that are trying to cobble [data] together," Markowitz said. "Because much of the technology was built under the auspices of Experian, we're able to leverage a platform that speaks seamlessly to Experian's databases."


MyPoints, San Francisco, worked with consumer data giant Experian, Orange, CA, to build the technology, which runs the online incentive firm's rewards program and tracks people's behavior on the Net. The transaction gives MyPoints outright ownership of the system.


MyPoints gives its members points for registering at its site, www.mypoints.com, filling out detailed personal profiles and responding to e-mails and on-site links it posts on behalf of its merchant clients. Experian maintains personal information on 180 million Americans, and the companies use the database technology to verify and add to the user profiles MyPoints pulls together at its site.


If, as a hypothetical example, Toyota told MyPoints it wanted to pitch its Camry to target Saturn owners, MyPoints might be able to tap into Experian car-ownership data to find out which of its 3.5 million members own Saturns and then hit those individuals with a marketing campaign. The key word there is "individuals." Some industry players have run into questions about how they will successfully marry their online data with information from offline partners.


Ad network DoubleClick Inc., New York, and merger partner Abacus Direct Corp. Broomfield, CO, reportedly are encountering just such a challenge as they try to overlay Abacus' data, which tracks households' buying behavior, with DoubleClick's data, which includes individuals' surfing behavior. Officials from DoubleClick were not immediately available for comment.


Markowitz contends that the technology transaction further entwines MyPoints and Experian and their separate pools of consumer information.


"It clearly shows that we're deepening our relationship," he said. "We're bringing in more technology from the Experian side. The idea is that we're really fortifying the partnership between the two companies."


Experian already is the single largest MyPoints shareholder, owning 15.5 percent of the company. MyPoints, formerly known as Intellipost, handed Experian the stake last year in exchange for three Experian-owned businesses and an undisclosed multimillion-dollar cash investment. MyPoints shares began trading publicly in August.

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