11 Jan Getting paid to shop?
Occasionally I get a pitch from an Internet retailer asking me to write about their site. Usually, it’s some poorly designed site that survives on tiny affiliate commisions, with barely any added value to the customer who shops there.
But Market America, the online retailer that recently bought shop.com, seems to be a new type of shopping site – one that incents its customers by offering considerable cashback opportunities, often highlighted on the Market America Blog. The Greensboro-based retailer is banking on the newly-created frugal shopper by enticing what looks to be mainly baby boomers with “MA Cashback” ranging from 8 to 35%. Looks like the strategy is working – Market America just announced it will be hiring 40 new staff members in 2011.
So just how does this work? A page called Market America Facts indicates the company is a direct selling enterprise that sells a range of products, from supplements to home decor through partners like Walmart. More than 3 million “preferred customers” make commissions and 180,000 distributors make retail profits based on the use of this retail portal. The company is growing rapidly with more than 500 employees currently – it’s one of the success stories of the true “new economy” – a rapidly growing business that exists solely because of the Internet.
Although hardly glamorous, Market America represents an entirely new opportunity for those who want to create a new income stream, or are out of work.A page for new distributors with descriptions of Market America Profiles calculates the commissions earned on a real-time basis. To me, the company looks like it’s recreating the Avon Lady, or the Fuller Brush man…but for a Web 2.0 world.