Incentive Marketer Cybergold Files for IPO

Berkeley, CA-based Cybergold Inc., one of the first Web-based incentive marketers, filed for an initial public offering that could raise as much as $46 million.

The company gives cash incentives to consumers who view or respond to selected online ads. Members can receive their online earnings through their credit cards or bank accounts, or spend them on music, software and other products advertised on Cybergold’s Web pages or those of its clients.

Membership is free, and the company says it has compiled a database of 1.8 million members — though its base of frequent users is smaller, according to its filing with the SEC. The company said most of its revenue comes from “a small percentage of our members,” and 20 percent of its members “have requested not to receive email from us.”

Cybergold charges advertisers only when consumers respond to enticements.

Although first quarter revenues were $503,000 compared to $107,000 in the first quarter of 1998, Cybergold’s net loss widened to $1.7 million from $1.2 million. The company has run up a $13.8 million deficit to date, according to the filing.

Cybergold, founded by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nathaniel Goldhaber, didn’t say exactly how many common shares it plans to sell or what price it will seek, and estimated the IPO’s top value at $46 million only as a basis for calculating the filing fee.

Goldhaber is the current top shareholder at Cybergold with a 34 percent stake. Cybergold would be traded on the Nasdaq market under the symbol CGLD.

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