eBay, FairMarket Expand Pact

Online auction technology firm FairMarket and Web auctioneer eBay are expanding their work to roll out joint loyalty programs for advertisers.

The two firms first collaborated on a pilot loyalty program for Diageo’s Burger King — in which diners were rewarded with “points” used in bidding on goods on eBay.

The nation’s No. 2. fast-food player, which was seeking to boost offline sales and to gather information on consumers, said results from the BKRewards.com campaign topped expectations. Because of the campaign’s success, Miami, Fla.-based Burger King also said it plans to expand the program nationally, beyond current tests in Erie, Penn. and Albany, N.Y.

Now, Woburn, Mass.-based FairMarket stands to provide similar services for other clients, as part of an exclusive alliance with San Jose, Calif.-based eBay.

Through the deal, eBay will spearhead the sales and marketing of such programs while FairMarket provides the technology used to register and track the online loyalty points distributed to offline buyers.

“Loyalty programs are a very powerful way for major consumer brands to interact with eBay’s community of 46 million registered users,” said Bill Cobb, eBay’s senior vice president for global marketing. “Teaming up with FairMarket enables us to extend this unique capability to a wide range of companies looking to develop and reward customer loyalty.”

FairMarket’s technology allows for points to be distributed either in print — such as on a product’s packaging, in which case, the points would be activated by registering at a co-branded, FairMarket-powered site — or added electronically to buyers’ accounts after using, say, a participating credit card.

The deal is a sizable win for FairMarket, which stands to gain from introductions to eBay advertisers and private-label auction clients, such as Toyota, IBM and The Sharper Image.

“Our expanded relationship with eBay combines the power and flexibility of our promotional platform with one of the largest and most active communities on the Internet,” said FairMarket President and Chief Executive Nanda Krish. “We will be working closely with the eBay team to market this service to large national brands that are looking to create unique and effective loyalty programs.”

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