Facebook Credits as Loyalty Rewards from Plink - If You Dare

I guess it should be expected that as the world awaits the highly publicised Facebook IPO that Facebook-related articles would crop up like weeds.  Well, here's another one...

On the heels of my post the other day on the essential use of a social login for loyalty programs, due to consumer fatigue in having to complete yet another profile on a new site.  The study by Marketing Sherpa suggested that consumers would much rather use their Facebook login as credentials for a new account.  I wrote it because I've seen how upcoming systems are going to work, but one recent announcements around using Facebook as a platform to deliver loyalty rewards caught my attention.  

You may have not seen the announcement for Plink.com, which offers consumers the ability to "Earn Facebook Credits For Dining and Shopping Offline".  It really caught my eye because I think consumers will seek out Facebook credits as a loyalty reward as they become more available.  As I write this, we're on the path to the Facebook IPO, which means that all things Facebook are at least interesting and my interests have me on the lookout for consumer-facing systems that connects marketers with users - via Facebook or any other social platform.  With what I read, I loved the idea.  So off I went to opened an account, or at least I started to.  

I clicked the connect with Facebook button and approved the connection, but then it asked for my credit card number.  Hmm.... I was not buying anything, but they ask for the info so they can connect with your credit card account directly and you give them permission to scan all your transactions from now going forward to monitor ALL my transactions looking for activity with participating merchants to dole out a reward for my purchase with them.  

Maybe it's just me, but I've been involved in projects that put me in touch with the credit card industry and learned that regular retailers are still struggling to comply with more and more credit card privacy laws, implementing using security technology that shields the actual credit card # while supporting the transaction and here's a start-up that wants unlimited access to credit card account details.

I backed out of the sign-up process and decided that this idea was just not ready yet - they are close, but not close enough even in the face of the pending Facebook IPO.

A Facebook Credit as a reward would be cool, but it needs to be reliant on my Facebook account and probably a link to my loyalty program particular to the retailer - but not my credit card that I use everywhere.  I cannot envision granting ANYone access to all my credit card transaction history ever without a court order - even for those ultra-valuable Facebook Credits they're promising at their 6 national participating merchants.  

To their credit, they did send me an email promising 25 Facebook Credits if I came back and completed the enrollment process, so someone thought about the enrollment abandonment issue already.  My suggestion to Plink is that they need to go back to the drawing board on this one and find a different  way of discerning my purchase behavior with their participating merchants because this tactic is a non-starter for me.  

I recognize it might be me though and my personal preference for credit card transaction privacy might be different than the average consumer - is this a tactic you think will survive?  

Anxious to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Tags: #Fail, Plink, ROI, facebook, groves, loyalty, marketing, programs, restaurants, rewards, More…steven

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Comment by Steven Groves on April 2, 2012 at 7:44am

Update on this story - Plink announced 633K adopters of the program; is this a success? 

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