Swagbucks Owner Buys CouponCause as Race For Shoppers, Data Heats Up
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
The owner of consumer rewards site Swagbucks bought the digital coupon-cutter company CouponCause Monday, expanding its e-commerce brands as it bulks up its consumer data and analysis business.
Parent company Prodege did not disclose terms of the deal on Monday but said it will absorb the Santa Monica-based company at its El Segundo headquarters where it keeps a live tracker of gift cards redeemed from around the world.
The move comes at a time of increased interest in the digital coupon space after PayPal paid $4 billion for Honey, another company that makes money by helping consumers earn rewards and find digital coupons. Companies like Honey, RetailMeNot and Prodege use the deals to capture valuable consumer information. Prodege also owns MyPoints, InboxDollars and MyGiftCardsPlus.
"The number of consumers who like value is limitless and we are satiating that appetite," said Prodege chief executive Chuck Davis, as he ticked off data points on the latest gift cards awarded— $25 at Applebees in Europe, $50 from Starbucks in Florida, another $25 from a Red Lobster in Florida — as they appeared on a screen in front of him.
The acquisition, which went into effect on Feb. 3, will help Prodege build a larger presence online — or as Davis puts it, "widen the vortex." Davis said the brands will eventually integrate. That will help feed the company's data and survey business, which already provides clients with insights on everything from customers' political preferences to their shopping habits.
Swagbucks works directly or indirectly with about 3,500 merchants, including names like Amazon and Walmart, he said.
And there's room for even more growth. In 2018, the company secured $130 million in debt financing that Davis, the former chief executive at Fandago and Shopzilla, said is intended for mergers and acquisitions. Last year, the company acquired CotterWeb Enterprises, Inc., which operates InboxDollars.com and SendEarnings.com.
With the most recent purchase behind them, Davis said Prodege is in "growth mode."
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- Super Hi-Fi's AI transports the skills of a trained radio DJ to digital music playlists. Spotify's former head of research Tristan Jehan recently joined as an advisor
- Founded in 2018 by veterans of the digital music business, the company's customers include iHeartMedia, Sonos, Peloton and Octave Music Group
- Its leaders envision a new audio listening experience — where everyone has a personalized, curated playlist, with artful, AI-generated sequences and layers of music, voice clips (e.g. news and podcasts), and branded messaging that drives new revenues to the music industry
Before the beat from "Baby Got Back" that underpins Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" fades to silence at the song's end, a sound clip pops up, right on rhythm and with a similar energy, telling the listener what streaming service they're listening to. A new track seamlessly takes the baton from the Minaj song before the brief branded message concludes, and continues the upbeat mood as a music bed for a rapid sequence of audio clips – first a voice imploring listeners to get hyped, then a word from Kanye about his interview with Beyoncé, a snippet from that interview, and another in-the-spirit advert – before blending into the intro of the next song, Kanye's "Stronger": all of it interwoven as if it were a single track produced in a recording studio.
Super Hi-Fi's customers include iHeartMedia,