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Background: Netcentives (www. is a year-old San Francisco startup with $12 million in venture capital. It's planning to launch the ClickRewards program by December.

How it works: Users are rewarded for visiting an advertiser's Web site, participating in market research surveys or buying something online. Users can swap ClickRewards points for frequent flier miles, or use them to upgrade a hotel room or rental cars. Other ways to redeem ClickRewards are being planned. Netcentives e-mails consumers with special promotional offers.

Advertisers: CNET's Buy Direct, Internet Shopping Network's First Auction, GolfWeb, Macy's, Broderbund Software, Burke Marketing Research and Yahoo!.

Redemption partners: American Airlines, British Airways, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways, National Car Rental System, Marriott Hotel & Resorts and Westin Hotels & Resorts.

Distribution: Co-branded deals are planned with Broderbund Software and other partners. It is also working with promotional partners Frankel & Co., Chicago, and Highway One Communications, San Francisco.

Prognosis: Netcentives has exclusive three- to five-year relationships with its airline partners to exchange ClickRewards for miles online. (Since Netcentives signed its deal with American, other programs such as BonusMail, are blocked from purchasing any more American miles, the airline said. Incentive programs are still able to purchase airline ticket certificates.)

All told, Netcentives said that its roundup of airlines represents 80% of the 52 million frequent flier members in the country, a demographic that overlaps with many of the people on the Internet.

Also, Netcentives' CEO West Shell III is well connected. He was a co-founder of Highway One Communications.

However, Netcentives is getting a late start, having already postponed a September launch date. It must hit the ground sprinting with wide brand exposure

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