Byrne returns to his CEO post after his three-month medical leave of absence.
Ecount, a provider of personal Web account and online gift certificates, has announced a new online customer acquisition model, Ecount Incentives, a pay-for-performance program designed to cap the cost of customer acquisition and retention. Through this new program, businesses can deliver promotional offers and dollars directly to consumers, who can then spend the funds. Corporations can choose to reward new customers and the behavior of current customers with either an ecount, a personal Web account that allows consumers to send, spend and receive money online, or a Webcertificate, an online gift certificate that Philadelphia-based Ecount says is good at any online or offline store that accepts credit cards. Ecount Incentives, currently in use by more than 120 businesses including online brokerage firm Suretrade.com, computer maker Dell, telecommunications firm AT&T; Broadband and telecommunications e-commerce site decide.com, enables corporations to pay consumers to "incent" their behavior, offering an alternative to current online advertising methods. Suretrade.com offers a $75 Webcertificate whenever a new customer opens a new IRA account. "The Webcertificate program through Ecount Incentives is one of the most successful account acquisition programs we have run," says Rich Hagen, president of Suretrade.com. "Because our target demographic is so broad, and the incentive preferences of our customers are wide-ranging, Webcertificates are perfect to attract and retain all categories of customers. We don't have to inventory and promote several categories of gifts."