*Beenz Confirms Layoffs, Denies Closing Rumors

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Online currency and loyalty provider beenz.com yesterday confirmed that it has gone through with a round of layoffs but denied rumors that it was closing down its United States operations.

The axe fell on 28 beenz.com employees in beenz' New York and San Francisco offices. The layoffs have taken specific aim on its sales, marketing and customer support departments.

"This isn't a simple 'we must cut costs where we can,' we're refocusing our business," spokesman Glen Jasper said.

The company will continue allowing existing partners to use the beenz currency, but it will not offer the service to any new dot coms.

Instead, beenz will work more in the business-to-business sector, promoting beenzCodes, a patented technology that lets offline business integrate their real world and online incentive programs.

The 18-month-old beenz currency is used by more than 300 Web sites worldwide, including Barnes & Noble.com and CDNow.com. More than 30 million transactions have occurred since the currency's launch. Consumers can earn beenz by visiting or shopping at sites. Beenz can be spent on online purchases such as vacations, sporting goods, DVDs, apparel, books and music. Beenz also can be converted into cash and stored on rewardzcard, a co-branded MasterCard debit card.

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