CyberGold, a company that pays people to read online advertising, has received a patent for “attention brokerage and orthogonal sponsorship,” which could have far-reaching effects on the fledgling Internet loyalty- and incentives-marketing industry.
According to CyberGold, Berkeley, CA, the patent gives it “the sole right to pay consumers online incentives — including cash, points, frequent-flier miles or other forms of compensation — whenever consumers demonstrate that they have paid attention to an ad or marketing message or participated in an online loyalty program.”
As a result, anyone who pays people to go to Web sites, read ads or take surveys online probably is infringing on CyberGold’s patent, CEO Nat Goldhaber said, adding, however, that he has no plans to try and put anybody out of business.
“It is in my absolute, unequivocal interest to license this thing and not to try and make what we do exclusive,” he said. “I don’t believe that incentives on the Internet will be successful unless there are many different angles to it.”