February 24, 2004, 12:00 AM

Gift services site FindGift.com sees December traffic up twofold to 600,000

Site revenue is up twofold as the gift category portal adds new merchants and fine-tunes an online selection process that helps gift-buyers choose from 10,000 products and 4,000 gift-giving situations.

The gift buyer is a different kind of online shopper, for whom the best price may be less important than finding a gift that expresses the right sentiment for the right recipient. Gift shopping services site FindGift.com saw its site revenues and traffic increase twofold this past holiday season over the previous year with an open-registry model that streamlines that process for consumers, president and founder Bob Zakrzewski tells Internet Retailer.

“Our core mission is to help people find gift ideas that will make gift giving easier,” says Zakrzewski. FindGift.com doesn’t sell any of the gift products it lists from retailers, but is instead is a cost per click ad program that delivers highly qualified gift-buyer traffic to its merchant partners. The merchant’s cost per click under the program is anywhere from 11 cents to 20 cents, depending on traffic volume. It’s a pay for inclusion program in which gifts are ranked for consumers’ view by their popularity rather than by a how much a merchant pays per click. “Merchants don`t have to spend a lot of time managing bids with us,” Zakrzewski says. “They have a cost per click that works for them, and our system works to get the products they list with us exposure in areas where consumers show the most interest.”

FindGift.com differs from many other gift registry sites in its open model, which allows those who create registries on the site to register for gifts from any store rather than just gifts from one store, as in the case of most merchant-sponsored registries. Beyond simply being a portal to online merchants in the gift category, Zakrzewski says FindGift.com provides added value by helping shoppers make their gift selection. More than 10,0000 gift products from more than 400 merchants, including new additions such as Red Envelope and Things Remembered, are organized by popularity in some 4,000 situational gift-giving categories.

“Consumers have a need to find gift ideas. Because of that, our ads aren’t really seen as ads by consumers – they’re seen as solutions. They way we organize our service is geared to helping people jump-start their creativity,” Zakrzewski says. A new advanced gift finder feature, for example, launched in enhanced form on the site in January, asks shoppers questions about the gift recipient and from those answers offers relevant categories of gifts from which the shopper can further narrow the field. Shoppers who use the feature, an internally written application, generate two to three times more revenue than those who use other gift-finding areas of the site, Zakrzewski says.

FindGift.com measures its own revenue based on how much click traffic it provides to merchants. FindGift monitors sales data from several merchants who report back to it, calculating sales and revenue for the merchant from every hundred visitors FindGift sent the merchant, relative to what the merchant paid for the program that month. “For one of our merchants in December, for example, a dollar spent with FindGift.com resulted in roughly $11 in revenue,” says Zakrzewski, noting that the numbers vary seasonally.

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