Consumer Payment Card News

MC EZSpree

Relationship Internet marketing company Yoyodyne signed MasterCard as a marquee sponsor of Yoyodyne’s ‘EZSpree’ promotion. The all new ‘EZSpree’ promotion will launch August 17 and offer instant discounts to MasterCard cardholders while providing the only source of free traffic to hundreds of online merchants. Before its conclusion, EZSpree is expected to guide more than half a million shoppers to as many as 400 of the Internet’s best known storefronts for the chance to win the Grand Prize of a $100,000 online shopping spree. As an added incentive for consumers, merchants will be creating special price offers exclusively for MasterCard cardholders. The partnership between Yoyodyne and MasterCard comes on the heels of MasterCard’s recently announced marketing alliance with Excite to serve as the preferred payment system on the Excite Shopping Channel.

FULL STORY:
Yoyodyne, the premier relationship marketing company on the Internet, announced yesterday that MasterCard International, will be the marquee sponsor of Yoyodyne’s innovative EZSpree promotion (http://www.ezspree.com).

The all new EZSpree promotion will launch August 17, 1998 and offer instant discounts to MasterCard cardholders while providing the only source of free traffic to hundreds of online merchants. Before its conclusion, EZSpree is expected to guide more than half a million shoppers to as many as 400 of the Internet’s best known storefronts for the chance to win the Grand Prize of a $100,000 online shopping spree. As an added incentive for consumers, merchants will be creating special price offers exclusively for MasterCard cardholders.

The partnership between Yoyodyne and MasterCard comes on the heels of MasterCard’s recently announced marketing alliance with Excite to serve as the preferred payment system on the Excite Shopping Channel. The MasterCard/Excite alliance is aimed at building consumer awareness of and confidence in the benefits of shopping online.

“This partnership with Yoyodyne and sponsorship of their EZSpree program is another important step forward in MasterCard’s ongoing efforts to be the payment brand that consumers think of first when they go to shop online,” said David Henderson, MasterCard’s vice president for global advertising and interactive marketing. “MasterCard believes in delivering real value to our cardholders. By working together with Yoyodyne and the Excite Shopping Channel, we are helping to take online browsers and convert them into online buyers, bringing a new world of purchasing opportunities to all MasterCard customers.”

With EZSpree, MasterCard and Yoyodyne have teamed up to deliver special values and rewards to online shoppers during a period when Internet shopping is expected to grow substantially over the same period last year. According to Jupiter Communications, a New York-based industry analyst firm, total online shopping revenues for 1998 are expected to reach $5.8 billion. This is an increase of 223% over 1997 revenues. By the year 2000, this number is expected to reach $15.6 billion.

“Online commerce represents the fastest growing area of opportunity on the Internet,” said Seth Godin, president and founder of Yoyodyne. “MasterCard has taken great strides in educating online consumers about the security of shopping on the Internet with their “Shop Smart!” program, which certifies that consumers are shopping on a secure site. We look forward to incorporating their expertise into our promotion.”

EZSpree, which was originally unveiled in the fall of 1997, is the only program to provide online merchants with free, qualified traffic to their transactional sites. In its initial year, 14.6 percent of participants reported making one or more purchases at participating merchants.

In conjunction with the EZSpree promotion, Yoyodyne and MasterCard will debut a special resource for online merchants called MerchantToday.com (http://www.merchanttoday.com). The site will be the first online destination dedicated to providing the latest research, products and news exclusively for the burgeoning online retail market. Yoyodyne will create special content exclusively designed to help the online merchant stay abreast of current trends and events impacting the online e-commerce industry. Additionally, MerchantToday will enable online merchants to share insights, best practices and other information in special community areas.

Among the merchants participating in EZSpree are (in alphabetical order): 911 Gifts, A&E TV, AccessMicro, As Seen On TV, Astrology.net, Audio Books on CD, Baseball Express, BBQ Source, Birkenstock Express, Bonsai Boy, Brookstone, Camelot Music, CD World, Computer Geeks, Cyberian Outpost, Cybershop, Everything Rubbermaid Online, FashionMall.com, The Flower Shoppe, Flying Noodle, FragranceNet, Global Mart, Hickory Farms, Internet Post Office, Kaufmans Big and Tall, Kitchen Collection, The Left Hand, Mountain Zone, Musicians Friend, NECX, Omaha Steaks, PGA Tour, Roxy.com, Sandscripts, Shop PBS, Software.net, Sporting Auction, Stash Tea Company, Surround Speakers.com, Twin Peaks Trading Post, Virtual Vineyards, Wal-Mart, and more.

Each participating merchant will be listed at http://www.ezspree.com where consumers can begin a shopping session, register for the sweepstakes, and review complete rules and entry requirements. The completely revised EZSpree landing page will closely resemble a traditional retail environment with seasonal sales and displays. In addition, the site will offer special premiums, shopping discounts, and instant rewards to participating EZSpree players.

Once registered, EZSpree participants will receive e-mail notification about new merchants, special sale prices and promotional items once a week. Yoyodyne adheres to a rigid policy regarding the use of e-mail addresses submitted by people participating in its programs. The company promises to only send game-related e-mail to participants and will never rent, sell or distribute an e-mail address to a third party without first securing permission from the owner of the address. All participants can exit a Yoyodyne program at any time simply by visiting the Yoyodyne Customer Service Center at http://www.yoyobiz.com. Yoyodyne is certified by TRUSTe, a non-profit initiative whose mission is to build user trust and confidence in the Internet by promoting the principles of disclosure and informed consent. For more information on Yoyodyne’s privacy policy please visit http://www.yoyo.com/games/privacy.html.

The EZSpree promotion is the perfect complement to MasterCard’s “Shop Smart!” program, which certifies that consumers are shopping on a secure site that uses today’s best practices for online transactions. When consumers see the “Shop Smart!” decal on a Web site, they can feel confident that the merchant is a valid merchant and will safeguard the consumer’s payment information using today’s best available practices for online transactions. To qualify for MasterCard’s “Shop Smart!” decal, merchants must demonstrate that they use the best available methods to make the Internet transaction as safe as possible. MasterCard is taking great strides to provide the SET Secure Electronic Transaction protocol to merchants for enhanced levels of security. Until SET is more widely available, “Shop Smart!” merchants will use SSL, the Secure Socket Layer protocol.

About MasterCard

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. With 23,000 member financial institutions, serving consumers in 220 countries and territories, MasterCard is the industry leader in quality and innovation. More than 600 million MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and Mondex cards are accepted at more than 15 million locations worldwide. In 1997, gross dollar volume exceeded $600 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at http://www.mastercard.com.

About Yoyodyne

Since its launch in 1995, Yoyodyne (http://www.yoyobiz.com) has established itself as the industry’s premier interactive direct marketing company. Yoyodyne has created and implemented more than 100 promotions, including custom games and multi-sponsor sweepstakes, for a variety of corporate clients such as KPMG, H&R Block, Reader’s Digest, Modem Media, Prodigy, Sony Music Entertainment, Sprint, and ZDNet, among others.

Other Yoyodyne promotions include EZWheels, an Internet promotion for automobile manufacturers, and EZVenture, an online promotion for small and home office business executives. Yoyodyne is privately owned with major investors including Flatiron Partners, Chase Manhattan Corporation, and Softbank Venture Partners.

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