Plyfe, the start-up website that gives customers unusual rewards by playing games on Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) and other sites, said its services are now available via smartphones.
Starting Thursday, customers will be able to interact with the New York City service by accessing Plyfe.me on their smartphones. The application is available across all models, said Jeff Arbour, Plyfe's chief marketing officer.
Coming at the height of the annual shopping and retail season, Plyfe (pronounced Plife, like knife) expects its traffic to surge as much as 15 percent immediately but is prepared for that, Arbour said. Until now, access had been restricted to PC and laptop users.
As much as 10 to 15 percent of pre-existing traffic was trying to access our site via smartphones,” Arbour said. “I seriously hope our traffic doubles” from the current monthly page views he estimated are below 10 million.
By playing a game on Facebook or interacting directly with an advertiser such as the United Nations Foundation or clothing site HaulerDeals or personal care site DermStore, users get points toward a premium such as tickets to “The Lion King” including a backstage tour, a Lady Gaga concert or the chance to ride on one of the Americas Cup yachts sailed by Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), the No. 1 database company.
Arbour said Plyfe, since its founding 18 months ago and through its initial offering of services earlier in 2012, has created solid ties with as many as 40 large advertisers seeking to build brand awareness through loyalty programs. The approach resembles airline rewards clubs and supermarket loyalty cards, he added.
Adding access via Plyfe.me to mobile platforms was obvious, Arbour said, because market researchers report sales of new mobile phones are drastically higher than those of PCs and laptops. So Plyfe wants to target consumers wherever they are.
Data from International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) show that consumers in the post-Thanksgiving shopping blitz used mobile platforms to shop retail sites far more than last year. IBM said nearly a quarter of consumers used smartphones this year compared with only 14 percent a year ago on Black Friday.
Plyfe has raised more than $1 million in venture capital from Initial Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Brad Harrison Ventures.
Arbour, 32, who formerly headed U.S. operations for Meredith Corp.'s (NYSE: MDP) The Hyperfactory online ad agency, said his colleagues were confident the company will succeed “because consumers want to be rewarded for their digital activity.”
David Zielenziger is a veteran editor and journalist who has written for newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Asian Wall Street Journal and EETimes, as well as for...