Sweepsclub Plans to Launch Out-of-This-World Promotion

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Sweepsclub.com is expected to officially launch its sweepstakes and promotions Web site today with a contest that will send consumers into outer space -- literally.

The winner of the contest will be awarded a seat on one of the first "tourists-only" trips into space with Space Adventures Ltd., Arlington, VA. The flight will last 30 to 90 minutes and will travel to an altitude of 62 miles, qualifying the winner for official "astronaut" status. A six-day training program will precede the flight. The contest runs for 90 days.

The company is hoping the promotion, tentatively named "Race2Space," will generate noise among consumers and clients, as the online promotions space is already filled with dozens of competitors.

Sweepsclub functions as a traffic generator for clients such as iChoose.com, Gator.com and Sayit.com that offer sweepstakes on the site. If a consumer clicks on the sweepstakes, he is brought to the client sites and, in some cases, is offered additional incentives for actions such as making purchases.

The site heavily leverages its Rewards Program, in which consumers earn points for clicking on sponsor sites and other activities. Consumers can earn 50 to 100 points for registering or buying at a client site, 25 points for opting in for Sweepsclub e-mail offers, and 500 points for referring a friend.

The site offers a "multidimensional approach" to sponsors, using "Web marketing promotions and incentive loyalty programs that offer our members the opportunity to opt in to win cash and prizes," said Richard Cote, vice president of marketing at Sweepsclub Inc., Deerfield Beach, FL.

The site has had little trouble attracting consumers, Cote said. Since its soft launch in October 1999, the site has grown and will exceed 1 million members next month, according to Cote.

The company plans to draw additional revenue by licensing its proprietary technology. Functioning as a full-service promotions house, it will license its custom marketing, promotions and rewards programs to client companies.

Sweepsclub, which considers MyPoints.com and Promotions.com to be its major competitors, has plenty more companies to compete with as the online promotions space grows. Other players include sweepstakes-driven sites like iWon.com and promotions houses like RealTime Media Inc.

This is why the site opted to use the space journey as a prize for its first major promotional push. "We wanted to do something unique. What better way to launch a site?" Cote said. "The second race to space is a very unique, great fit."

Aside from its Race2Space promotion, the site offers other points of differentiation between its offerings and those of its competitors. Its prize redemption vehicle, for example, puts a unique twist on an old theme. Instead of redeeming points for merchandise such as cameras, watches and electronics, consumers bid for items. Additionally, consumers can redeem points for additional entries into sweepstakes offers.

To promote the site and the contest, Sweepsclub kicked off its media tour today. It plans to run a targeted online and offline campaign as well, consisting of banner, radio and outdoor advertisements.

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