CoolSavings Taps Geoworks for Wireless Promotions

Online promotional marketer CoolSavings.com said it has tapped wireless technology company Geoworks to develop a system to extend its offer distribution to wireless devices.

Currently, Chicago-based CoolSavings — like competitor e-centives, and more industry-specific firms like Catalina Marketing’s SuperMarkets Online, — sends out promotional offers via email to opt-in consumers. CoolSavings counts more than 10 million registered members.

As part of this new initiative, CoolSavings’ clients will be able to send targeted promotional messages and coupons to members that have SMS- or WAP-enabled devices and opt-in to receive those messages.

“Geoworks’ pioneering efforts in the mobile marketing space makes them uniquely qualified to translate our online incentive infrastructure into a comprehensive wireless marketing service,” said CoolSavings chairman and chief executive Steven Golden.

“Our new wireless solution will allow advertisers to capitalize on the vast marketing possibilities of wireless technology to provide consumers with targeted and personalized savings offers that they can receive anytime, anywhere.”

CoolSavings’ wireless initiative will be based on Geoworks’ Mobile ASP scalable platform and Premion information server. United Airlines also recently selected Geoworks’ Mobile ASP solution to develop a wireless flight schedule system for the UK.

“We believe a wireless element to their service will increase the relevance and timeliness of [CoolSavings’] offers, helping to build greater consumer loyalty for their advertisers,” said Rhonda Jobe, vice president of corporate marketing for Alameda, Calif.-based Geoworks.

With ClipACoupon.com, which announced a channel agreement with wireless content firm AvantGo last week, CoolSavings is one of the few couponers moving visibly into the wireless space. As a result, CoolSavings is banking that the new initiative will help it pull away from the pack of online couponers and promotional marketers.

Competitors have alleged that the company has used lawsuits in the past to attempt the same thing. When CoolSavings received a patent for issuing electronic coupons in 1998, it promptly sued ten of its competitors for infringement.

Some of those competitors countersued, either alleging that CoolSavings was threatening their customers or after purchasing patents that predated CoolSavings’. Most of the competitors since have reached settlement agreements with CoolSavings.

Last month, however, CoolSavings settled its suit with e-centives — in which e-centives agreed to pay $650,000 to $1.4 million — leaving only SuperMarkets Online’s parent Catalina Marketing involved in litigation with the company.

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