March 19, 2012, 12:02 PM

Social marketing company 500friends raises $4.5 million

The company will use the funds to bolster its sales and marketing teams.

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Social marketing vendor 500friends Inc. says it has raised $4.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Crosslink Capital.

500friends enables retailers to build social media-focused loyalty programs that reward shoppers for doing things like sharing their interests in a brand’s products via tweets to friends through Twitter or Liking their favorite products on Facebook. The Internet-hosted system enables merchants to track the social media activity of their loyalty club members and provides retailers with an online dashboard that shows information such as how often club members have tweeted about or Liked its products, plus purchase frequency and average order values.

The vendor will use the funds to expand its platform’s capabilities, as well as to add staff to its sales and marketing teams.

“Social loyalty has disrupted how retailers have traditionally conducted business,” says 500friends CEO Justin Yoshimura. “Historically, loyalty programs were only within reach for retailers with the financial resources to bring in specialized agencies or the ability to allocate significant internal resources to build and maintain complex systems. We are helping to level the playing field and give retailers, regardless of size, the ability to deploy rich and responsive programs that extend their relationships beyond the purchase and make customers into advocates.” 

The vendor, whose platform launched last July, says its clients include Inc., No. 87 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, and, No. 446.

Howard Wyner, CEO of, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in June in a session titled “Marketing Technologies: The engines behind the promotions.

IRCE $200 early-bird discount expires March 31!

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