Site Wants Friendship to be Rewarded is launching its ìFriend Pointî loyalty program today that rewards registered members for participating in its various community features. is a relationship community of 12 Web sites that connects singles and people of similar interests, faiths and cultures. It has 8.3 million members that have signed up to be matched with others and to help build their communication skills.

Friend points are designed to encourage users to become more active in the online community and online learning. Points are awarded for users who add a photo or voice profile to their online description, send e-mails to other interested members and submit entries in the online Relationship Magazine.

Points can be redeemed for silver and gold memberships that give members increased exposure to other members. Premium members are positioned at the top of member listings, have more access to advanced browsing and searches, and have access to live telephone customer support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Since the loyalty program is designed to help members meet other people and learn more about relations rather than garnering boatloads of points for prizes, it should be extremely successful, according to Michael Zhang, vice president of marketing and strategic planning for the siteís parent company The Friend Finder Network, Palo Alto, CA.

ìFriend point users get rewarded for making new friends. It helps users be more active in the community. Other points programs like casting a large net, attracting as many people as possible to earn cash and airline miles,î said Zhang. ìOur loyalty program instead targets those users who are genuinely interested in our site and helps them achieve better end results in meeting people. We believe this elicits high loyalty from users in the end.î

One of the new areas for members to explore and earn points from is the ìFriend Finder Relationship Workshop,î an interactive dating workshop. It provides an online Relationship Workshop that covers all aspects of dating, from flirting to first dates to commitment. The Workshop gives tips, case studies and homework-style activities to help user find success in the dating world. Members are rewarded with points for every session they go through and every article they post.

In addition to upgraded memberships, highly involved members can also redeem friend points for approximately one cent per point. Cash rewards begin after a user earns 5,000 points. Earning points gives members access to more areas of the site.

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