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Webstakes Puts on New Face With Name Change

Webstakes.com is expected to re-christen itself this week with a name that gets straight to the point about what business it’s in: Promotions.com.

But the name’s simplicity is designed to recast Promotions.com as what it has been all along – a business-to-business firm. “We’re developing all these solutions to help companies with their Internet promotions, and people didn’t realize the depth and breadth of our offering,” said Steven Krein, chairman/CEO at the New York company.

Despite its former bright and bouncy image, Promotions.com has always depended on marketers rather than consumers for its revenue. Among other BTB endeavors, Promotions.com helps cyber-marketers build their databases and set up promotions on their own sites. In its earliest days, the company made money by giving marketers access to targeted groups of consumers entering various sweepstakes at www.webstakes.com.

Promotions.com will continue to operate the Webstakes site – the firm has built a database of 3 million consumers through the online destination, indicating it’s a brand a lot of sweepstakes junkies are comfortable with.

But the new name might eliminate confusion among potential clients that misperceived Webstakes.com as a business-to-consumer site. It also might put things on firmer ground with the investment community – Webstakes’ Nasdaq-traded shares have fluctuated broadly since the company went public in September.

The promotions space is filled with companies specializing in one or a few various types of promotional activities, whether they’re sweepstakes, contests, coupons, points, loyalty programs, incentives or product samples. And just as marketers once dependent on catalogs or direct mail are increasingly investing in e-tail or e-mail, offline promotion dollars are migrating more to online promotion firms.

Promotions.com hopes to take advantage of those trends by moving into the points and loyalty markets. Krein said he expects to be marketing a broader array of promotional techniques in the next 12 to 18 months. The idea, of course, is that Promotions.com can set itself apart from rivals selling a narrow promotional repertoire.

“Sweepstakes have their place in the whole marketing mix. So do contest points, loyalty programs, couponing and sampling. The idea is to pull out the right promotion tool at the right time,” Krein said.

The name change was slated to become official today, and Promotions.com is scheduled midweek to begin trading under a new stock symbol. The company also bought the long-registered www.promotions.com domain name.

Promotions.com plans to introduce its new self this week through print advertisements in major newspapers and trade publications. Banner ads on financial news sites will follow. Heater Advertising, Boston, is assisting Promotions.com with the six-week campaign.

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