Google / PayPal Sales Exec Tyler Hoffman Joins Virtual Currency Rewards Startup ifeelgoods
ifeelgoods has a brilliant idea — letting you earn Facebook Credits for ecommerce purchases or following a brand on Twitter — but now it has to convince big companies and shopping sites to adopt its tech. That’s why it’s hired former Google Managing Director of Commerce Sales and leader of PayPal’s enterprise sales team Tyler Hoffman to be its new Senior Vice President of Sales.
Ifeelgoods is starting to snowball, as CEO Michael Amar says 92% of customers returning to ifeelgoods and increasing their budget by 250%. Of my years in tech, this is one of the most promising startups I’ve seen. Because virtual currency is so cheap to distribute and is highly valued by some consumers, ifeelgoods could become a big disruptive force in how businesses acquire customers.
This is how the $8 million-funded ifeelgoods microincentive model works. The startup buys Facebook Credits from the social network in bulk. These Credits normally cost gamers $0.10 each, and are used to buy virtual goods, power-ups, and play time in social games, as well as music, movies, and other digital media. Possibly the world’s most popular virtual currency, more and more people want Credits, but many don’t want to pay for them because, well, they’re just for fun.
Ifeelgoods finds companies with specific actions they want people to take, and lets them incentivize these actions. So you could get 50 Credits for making a $50+ clothing purchase on Gap.com, 10 for installing a new Facebook game, 5 for signing up for Universal Pictures’ email list, or 3 for following the Dallas Mavericks basketball team on Twitter. Once you’ve completed an action, you approve the ifeelgoods Facebook app, and the Credits are deposited into your account.
Clients pay ifeelgoods for the Credits plus a fee. Walmart, Netflix, 1-800-Flowers, and Coca-Cola are a few more of its 70+ clients, but Hoffman is tasked with getting more brands on board. His 16 months at Google, seven years at PayPal, and three more doing sales for CNET should help.
Here’s a few reasons I believe in the model: distributing Credits is cheaper than mailing coupons, small incentives are more attractive than discounts since they don’t expire can be spent anywhere that accepts Credits, they’re viral since users get a chance to share news of being rewarded, and ads offering Credits get high click-through rates than those offering traditional discounts.
Not everyone’s willing to pay money for social games and digital media. But with ifeelgoods, they can pay with their time, contact info, or choice of where to shop.