Privately held Intellipost has bought Experian's MyPoints, an online rewards program, and other e-commerce ventures including MotivationNet and DirectValue.com, according to the company. Intellipost's chief business has been the direct marketing email application BonusMail.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
The deal is intended to propel Intellipost to the front of the online marketing and loyalty-based rewards program industries. Founded in 1996, Intellipost runs incentive programs for companies such as Prodigy, CBS SportsLine, Egghead, and E*Trade to keep Web surfers coming back to their sites by earning points.
After the deal Intellipost will have access to more than 1.7 million consumers--and adds 6,000 a day--who have registered to receive direct marketing offers via email, a process known as opting-in. Many states have laws against unsolicited commercial email unless consumers agree to opt-in.
Under terms of the agreement, Experian will take a 19.9 percent stake in the direct marketing company and provide Intellipost with database management technology and sales support. MyPoints and DirectValue.com, which offer Web surfers points for receiving and reading advertisements, will become one program.
The partnership also means that Experian's 600 sales staffers can sell Intellipost offerings.
Experian, a $1.6 billion subsidiary of British conglomerate Great Universal Stores, owns the TRW Financial Services and Metromail online databases of credit information on consumers. Experian supplies data on consumer and business credit, direct marketing, automotive, and real estate. The company also owns Direct Technology Marketing.
One of the largest U.S. credit bureaus, Experian has been closely watched in the debate over online privacy. Last year the company pulled out of an online direct marketing venture designed to boost email marketing after privacy concerns were raised. The Intellipost relationship appears to be consistent with what Experian hoped to do in the earlier deal.