IHarvest Seeks to Turn Bookmarks into Cash Crop

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IHarvest Corp. plans to market new software that permanently stores bookmarks to loyalty and retail Web sites as a means to increase the sites' stickiness.

"We create effectively an unbreakable bookmark because we save not only a link but also an accurate snapshot of the content," said Rich Buchheim, president/CEO of iHarvest, Redwood Shores, CA. "So if it's one of those pages that can't be bookmarked because it disappears immediately, we can still save it.

"The combination of this as a research tool for making purchases and as a point-of-purchase tool for capturing information is where we think the most value is [to online retailers] to start with," said Buchheim.

IHarvest, which debuted last week, is a next-generation version of iHarvest One, which lets users capture information to their desktops. Nearly 75,000 users have opened iHarvest One accounts, according to the company.

IHarvest will first target e-tailers in computers, electronics, automobiles and financial services -- areas where consumers conduct a large amount of research before making a purchase. It will then target smaller-ticket categories.

The company also is running the Tell-a-Friend Harvest Sweepstakes and conducting an e-mail campaign that, through a deal with Macromedia, will tap an unspecified number of people on Macromedia's list of 7.5 million opt-in names.

The sweepstakes, in particular, acts like a referral program that encourages members to tell friends about iHarvest. The grand prize is a trip for two to wine harvests in either Italy's Tuscany region or California's Napa Valley. To participate, members visit the iHarvest site and enter details about their friends. Each time a friend offers another e-mail address, the original referee gets an extra chance to win.

Though it has yet to sign deals with any other sites, iHarvest hopes to gain a presence on the e-tailers' pages through a button. Users could click on this button to save the Web page location of information researched, receipts or merchandise bought.

The saved information would be stored in an area iHarvest co-brands with the retailer. Consumers could also access the information from their MyHarvest accounts. Retailers would be able to pitch new offers when consumers return to view the stored pages.

The service is free to e-tailers; although, there are plans to charge them a licensing fee for co-branding later. IHarvest will garner revenue from advertising to consumers who open basic, free iHarvest accounts. The free accounts provide 6 megabytes of storage space, but users who prefer more can pay $29.95 each year for additional space -- a model pursued by storage services such as Driveway.com and idrive.com.

Users download the software from www.iharvest.com. The software enables users to color-code pages in 20 categories, and it can save audio, video and Shockwave files.

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