June 3, 2009, 12:00 AM

Buy.com sends shoppers on a scavenger hunt around web social networks

A “Tweet and Seek” promotion required contestants to track down clues on such sites as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and in a product video on Buy.com. The web retailer says 75,000 consumers visited the landing page explaining the promotion last month.

Lured by a prize package of consumer electronics, thousands of shoppers went on a scavenger hunt sponsored by online retailer Buy.com last month, seeking clues on a variety of online social networks and on the Buy.com site itself.

The e-retailer promoted the “Tweet and Seek” contest via an e-mail blast to its best customers and on Twitter, drawing 75,000 visitors to the contest landing page, says Buy.com president and CEO Neel Grover.

Contestants first had to answer a trivia question posted on Buy.com’s Twitter site, which led them to a product page at Buy.com. Contestants who found the correct answer then were linked to new hidden questions on Buy.com’s product or Facebook fan pages.

The scavenger hunt led consumers to other sites as well. They watched an Apple iPhone commercial featuring Buy.com at YouTube and a product video at Buy.com itself, and linked to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to find information about Buy.com. The winner, Rachel Hagerman, finished in under 25 minutes, and won the contest by posting all the correct answers on Buy.com’s Facebook wall.

“We wanted to do something fun and creative, and we hadn’t seen anybody do anything like this, combining all the different social media sites out there,” Grover says. “We definitely will be doing more of these because we were very happy with the response to this one. They’ll all have some twists, and they may have different types of hurdles.”

Grover says Buy.com, No. 33 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has been trying to make shopping on its site more like shopping in a physical store, for example by adding product videos on the BuyTV portion of its site. Grover says the e-retailer plans to add new features later this year that will enable consumers to shop with friends at Buy.com, but declines to provide details.

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