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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1052 - June 29, 2005 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 4

Turning Two, eBay's Anything Points Keeps on Growing

By Mark Lewis
June 29, 2005

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At two years old, eBay's Anything Points program, the loyalty points exchange, continues to strengthen.

It all began in May, 2003 with an announcement by eBay that a number of partner companies' frequent flyer miles or loyalty points could be converted to eBay "Anything Points" and used to purchase items on eBay given the purchaser paid via PayPal. Soon afterwards, the Anything Points program was expanded to allow all program members to use points to pay eBay fees.

The program grew again in late 2003 with the addition of the eBay credit card. Accepted wherever MasterCard is accepted, use of the card earned Anything Points for the user. By the end of 2003, sellers could use Anything Points as an incentive to lure buyers by offering points as a bonus with the sale of their items. Sellers could offer up to five Anything Points per dollar of the final selling price and be billed by eBay for those, transferring the money directly from seller to buyer.

The spring of 2004 saw eBay's partnering with online marketer MetaReward and internet service provider Earthlink. This further widened the reach of the Anything Points program. In November, eBay reported that it would give away Anything Points in exchange for users trying new eBay services including Sales Reports, Picture Manager and Seller Tools.

Currently, eBay Anything Points are available through exchanges with Priceline.com, NetFlix, The New York Times, and online stock trader ShareBuilder, just to name a few.

Regarding the PayPal-Anything Points synergy, eBay spokesperson Hani Durzy would only say, "I would not point to the Anything Points program as a key driver of PayPal growth," saying instead that PayPal growth was mostly due to its being, "convenient secure and efficient."

PayPal has benefited from increased use via fees. PayPal currently boasts 72 million PayPal accounts worldwide and showed $6.2 billion total payment volume in 2005 Q1 alone, according to Durzy.

A recent article in the Washington Post quotes eBay chief executive Meg Whitman saying, "We feel confident that PayPal can become the online wallet for an entire global generation of Internet shoppers."

Durzy made it clear that eBay believes "Paypal can become the global online standard for internet payments on eBay and off eBay."

The Anything Points program, said Durzy, "has a role to play in continuing to bring buyers back to eBay."


About the author:

Mark Lewis is a teacher and freelance writer.

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