Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Value of Creating Online Coupons

As I prepare for my trip to Philadelphia today to attend ILM:06, an industry conference where I will be on a panel speaking about the growth of online coupons, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what our Merchants have achieved using MerchantCircle's free coupon creation and distribution tools.

Released just over a year ago, our coupon creation tools now boast the following statistics:

* Nearly 10,000 coupons were created over the year
* Roughly 6,000 coupons are currently active (implying most were created recently)
* Around 1,000 new coupons are created each month
* The number of coupons doubles about every 90 days

While I'm pleased about our progress to date, there is still admittedly much left to be done. That's why I'm proud to announce that earlier this month we achieved another milestone extending the advertising reach of our Merchants online coupons.

As our customers already know, Merchants have always been able to place coupons for free on the MerchantCircle webpages in their locale. However, beginning this month, our customers' coupons are now also going to be distributed and viewed on other popular local internet sites via an XML feed (for those technical folks out there, the RSS 2.0 feed spec can be found here.)

So what does this mean? It means more potential customers are seeing our Merchants' coupons and are visiting those Merchants' MerchantCircle websites. Consider the following examples:

Clarks Creek Candle Company created a coupon on MerchantCircle a week ago and already has had nearly 225 potential customer visits to their MerchantCircle site to show for it. See her coupon displayed, for free, on one of our new partner sites Oodle (a local classifieds site) here.

Both Jaworski Coatings and All American Gutter have created and displayed their coupons via MerchantCircle. Today, each has over 1,000 visitors (i.e. potential customer) to their MerchantCircle websites each month! That's a lot of customer visits... and many of them are driven by their creation of coupons.

Results like these are encouraging to me as I prepare my thoughts for this week's panel. I hope they are food-for-thought for our Merchants as well. For those Merchants who have created coupons, keep an eye out for an increasing number of potential customer visits, driven by your coupons, in the weeks and months ahead. For those who have not yet created a coupon via our free coupon creation and distribution tools, perhaps now it's about time you did!

Doug Kilponen
Vice President, Business Development

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