What is a cashback/loyalty/reward/incentive website?

These are shopping portals where signed-up members can earn cashback on their usual purchases from online stores they link to.

The website pays a proportion of the commission received from the retailer as cashback to its members.

This is a rapidly growing phenomenon in the UK, with increasing number of savvy shoppers wanting "more" when they shop online. While it may sound too good to be true to some people, in the UK alone there are over two million people registered to cashback sites and the phenomena has been widely acclaimed by media including the BBC and the Financial Times.

What is your whitelabel cashback service?

It is basically a cashback website made and run in your own brand by us, V A C Media Ltd. To learn more about our company, please see our About us page.

Who will it benefit?

Any company or organisation which has a customer base, audience or a high traffic website can benefit from having an incentive shopping website. Some examples include:

Newspapers, Magazines or Broadcasters: Provide a money saving shopping portal to your audience where they can earn or donate their money to good causes.

Banks and Credit cards: The cashback your consumers earn can be directly credited to their bank account or credit card.

Charities, Schools, Institutions and Fundraisers: You can raise funds for your cause at no extra costs to you or your supporters. Your supporters can raise money just by doing their regular shopping.

Merchants and Service providers: You can earn revenue on other products which you do not sell. (Example: a telecom company can earn commission from their customers buying holidays). None of your competitors will be promoted to your customers.

Experienced Affiliates and Marketers: Encourage repeat visitors and build shopping communities.

Existing Loyalty Site Operators: You can still own your user base and brand, cut down on maintenance costs and allocate more resources to marketing.

How much money can we earn?

By providing your customers an option to shop from more than 2000 retailers, the potential for revenue to yourself and your customers is enormous. Members hundreds of pounds as cashback is common and big spenders could even earn thousands of pounds a year.

Every time your customer buys a product or service using your loyalty site, you can earn commission from it. With your new loyalty site having merchants in about 37 categories including Books, DVDs, Mobile phones, Broadband, Electrical, Insurance, Computers, Travel and Gifts, there is a massive potential to offer a value added money-saving service to your audience and still create a new revenue stream to you.

Apart from the new revenue stream, are there other benefits to us?

Yes. Since customers are likely to visit your branded reward site whenever they want to shop online, find discount vouchers or sale information, your brand awareness, brand loyalty and stickiness of your website will increase.

Customers also get paid (typically £5) for referring their friends, so your company will get attract new customers to your brand.

See our Benefits page for an overview of benefits to you and your customers.

What is the potential in the market?

Based on years of market research and experience, we estimate that more than 90% of online shoppers in the UK do not use a cashback website when they shop. With the number of people shopping online increasing every year and revenue generated online growing exponentially, the potential appears very promising.

"There are at least 20,000,000 potential members of a cashback programme in the UK, so whatever the figures, all of the existing providers have but scratched the surface." - Keith Budden, Industry Expert.

Will our customers have to pay more for using our loyalty site?

No. The price they pay the retailer is the same. We just reward them cashback from the commissions we get from the retailer for referring the sale.

We also never charge any membership or transaction fees.

Who will own member base of our white label cashback site?

You will. We only provide the required cashback service to your members and will not contact them for any other reason or try and sell them anything. We will never rent or sell your member details to anyone. You will have access to member details through your secure administration panel.

How will we see how many members we have and revenue generated?

You will have 24 hour access to a secure online control panel where you can see member activities and detailed revenue statistics.

You give away free £5 to new members of the cashback sites and also when they refer friends. Where does this come from?

This comes from the total revenue generated (commissions we get from merchants for member purchases)

Net Revenue = Commission Generated - Member payments (member payments include cashback paid to them, welcome bonus and friend referral bonus). It is this net revenue that gets split between us and our partners.

The welcome bonus and friend referral bonus we provide our members can be customised based on your requirements.

What happens to any cashback unpaid to the members?

Some member accounts may become dormant after prolonged periods (12 to 24 months) of inactivity. The residual cashback in their accounts and any other residual monies will be added to the total revenue on an annual basis to be split between our partners and us.

How do your pay the cashback to our members?

When the merchants pay us, we deposit the cash into your members' accounts. Members can opt to receive earnings by either BACs or Paypal, free of charge. Other payment methods can sometimes also be provided, based on your requirements, for example, members' cashback paid into the accounts they have with you.

How do we get paid?

You/your company will get paid automatically via BACS, direct to your bank account on a monthly basis. Minimum payment threshold is £100, with any unpaid money carried over to the following month.

What do we have to do to get the site set-up?

There is very little work from your end as we take care of building the site, customising it and getting it ready to market.

Many of our partners just point their domain to our server, supply a logo and get their white label site live and ready to market within a week. For some of our corporate clients it can take longer to completely customise the design, functions, branding etc.

Can we suggest/remove retailers listed on the site?

If you find certain categories of merchants unsuitable to your audience, we can remove them. We can consider suggestions to remove your competitors from your loyalty portals.

Even though we have over 2000+ merchants listed, our staff members are constantly hunting for new companies and offers to be featured. Most popular online merchants are already on our network of websites.

You can suggest new merchants to be added or featured, but adding them will be at our discretion. Due to the nature of the business model (for example, the merchants need to have a reliable tracking and payment system), we cannot have certain retailers on loyalty portals.

If you know a retailer who can provide increased commission or discount codes to our members, we can consider them.

For administrative reasons, we do not generally consider merchants with independent affiliate programs and prefer them to be on a major affiliate network.

Can we have advertisements on the white label website?

We advise not to have banner advertisements (unless it about your main brand), Google Adsense or non-cashback offers as these can be confusing or misleading to customers. On a cashback portal, people expect cashback on their purchases and customer satisfaction in more important than advertising revenues.

What customisation options are available?

We do not take a "One size fits all" approach and tailor our solutions based on our partners' requirements and potential. Supported by an army of experienced technical and other staff, we can either provide you an out-of-the-box solution, or a unique solution based on your specifications.

Some of the additional options we can do for larger clients include forums, blogs, reward points, other payment methods or incentives instead of cashback. To see examples and some standard specifications, see our benefits page.

Do we have to provide a design?

We have design templates, which have been tried and tested over years. Either you can supply your own logo to go with our designs or you can provide us with your own design, logo and branding elements. Many of our partners choose to use our templates to save time. Even if you select our design to get started, we can work with you to integrate a new design after your white label cashback site is well established.

What Search Engine Optimisation features are available?

One of the popular choices with our partners is a blog function. We can set up a blog on your cashback site, where you can write about promotions, product reviews, shopping news, launch competitions etc. You can see an example blog on eDealsUK here.

From spring 2008, you will also have the option to edit keywords, title, and descriptions on many pages of your whitelabel and add more unique content.

Can we arrange for a percentage of our or our members' earnings to be donated to charity?

Yes, this can be set-up. Since it involves additional programming and administration for our staff, it can only be done for partners who can generate significant numbers of members to their loyalty website.

Where will the cashback site be hosted?

Since we need to be able to make changes to your cashback site, it will be hosted on our servers.

We use state-of-the-art dedicated servers from Rackspace, which are known as being among the most reliable in the business. Our servers and firewalls are located in London and have a 99.99% uptime guarantee. We will pay the cost of the hosting and maintenance of the servers.

How much work will be involved maintaining our cashback site?

To put it simply, we take care of all the day-to-day maintenance leaving you to take care of as much or as little marketing depending on your resources.

We are supported by dozens of staff that work around the clock to do all the many tasks required for running a successful incentive-shopping portal. We update offers, vouchers and sale information from more than 2000 merchant partners, answer all customer queries, send payments to members, liaise with merchants regarding untracked sales etc.

Do we need a lot of resources from our end to run the site?

Since we take care of maintaining the website and looking after customers of the loyalty site, how much resource you allocate depends on your marketing plan.

If you have an existing member base or audience, once you have set-up mechanisms to promote the new service on your website, you may not need a lot of resources afterwards.

If you do not have an existing member base, we would require you to devote a significant amount of effort to ensure your cashback site succeeds.

What methods can we use to promote our loyalty portal?

Any legal, non-spammy means you like. It can be offline methods like newspapers, leaflets, radio or television, or online methods like your own websites, paid search marketing or search engine optimisation. Please do not use any trademarks or brand names owned by V A C Media Ltd. on pay per click advertising or search engine link building.

We have a busy website. Can you help with integrating/promoting the new cashback service to our existing website?

Yes, with years of experience in online marketing, we know what works. We can provide free advice and help with promoting your new loyalty site on your existing websites. We can provide technical assistance or work with your team to integrate sign-up forms, design banners, write promotional material etc.

Can we use the merchant descriptions and cashback amounts (from our cashback label site) in our existing websites?

You can. While you currently have to do this yourself, we will be providing XML feeds from summer 2008, which will make the job easier.

Who sends out newsletters to members?

You will have access to the member details through your admin panel where you can download your member details. Most of our partners prefer to send newsletters to their members themselves, on which we can guide and help with.

We can, however, send periodic, fully branded newsletters for partners if required. Due to considerable time and effort involved in this, we are only able to provide the newsletter service to white label partners who have at least 5000 members.

Can we run competitions on our white label site?

Yes, you can, as long as it meets all legal requirements and run fairly. However, any promotional activities like these will have to be paid by and operated by you.

Are these sites family friendly?

Yes. We do not have any illegal content or adult material on our websites. When our partners request gambling merchants, we only add reputed service providers who operate legally.

What security measures do you have?

Member accounts, payment and admin areas are SSL encrypted. We comply strictly with the Data Protection Act 1998 and have clear Privacy and Anti-Spam policies.

What quality control measures do you have?

Merchants: Every time we add a new merchant to our network of websites, we check the retailers' websites for suitability for the purpose and security in payment methods. Our websites have options for consumers to write their own review of the retailers, so people can make informed choices. When a merchant receives a lot of negative reviews and complaints regarding their service, we remove them from our sites.

Members: To protect the interests of our merchant partners, we have developed an array of monitoring and security systems over the past four years to detect suspicious or fraudulent activities by any of our members. These include IP geo-location, IP and email blocking, early identification of any members who breach our terms and warning/suspending them from our sites.

Complaints Procedure: Whenever a member complains about a merchant, or a merchant complains about a member's activities, it is investigated by a Senior Manager and appropriate action is taken. This may include removing the member or the retailer from our websites.

Customer Service: See our Customer Service Guarantee page.

Our Commitment: As part of our ongoing commitment to providing a high quality service, we are a full member of the Loyalty Association in London (a self-regulating body in the online loyalty sector). We comply with the TLA code of conduct and are subject to its independent annual audit process.

What are the requirements to be your partner?

It costs us considerable time, resources and a lot of money to maintain the site and handle customer service etc. Therefore, we are only able to partner with professional and experienced marketers, established companies and organisations.

We are registered with the Data Protection Act 1998 and expect our partners to comply with the Act and Good Practice guidelines. More information is available from the Information Commissioner's office here.

What is the life-time monetary value of a member on a cashback site?

This depends on a lot of factors. Our experience in running more than 70 consumer loyalty portals shows that the conversion values, retention and revenue vary based on target audience, demographics, how you get people to sign-up etc.

For example, getting 5000 members from an affluent community website can generate more revenue than getting 50,000 members from another website where people sign-up to your service just because they want to enter a competition.

Due to these reasons and Non-Disclosure Agreements with partners, we are unable to answer questions like "How is website X doing?" or "If we have X number of members, how much money can we earn?"

We already own a loyalty website. How can we work together?

As a loyalty website operator, you know how much time, money and resources are spent in updating offers, looking after members etc. Now you have the option of partnering with us to enable you to spend more time building your brand and marketing.

You can keep your design/branding, have as much or as little control of your user base and services as you like and continue to own your member base. We can take care of all or some of the following: the day-to-day running of the website, customer service, untracked sales, member payments etc, freeing up a lot of your resources.

We can tailor-make solutions for you, feel free to have a chat with us. There will be no/minimal disruption to your existing service or members.

Do you provide white-label cashback sites for other countries such as the United States?

While our current services are only in the UK, we are planning to expand to other countries later this year, with USA next in the pipeline. You can contact us if you want to register your interest.

What is the next step?

Should you wish to apply for a white-label cashback site, or need more information, please contact us with details of about yourself/your organisation, a detailed Marketing Plan and how you intend to attract members to your new reward shopping website.

Because of the time and expense of setting up and running each white-label site, we will only accept partners who act professionally and can demonstrate they have a long-term commitment to making a success of their cashback business. Click here for our contact details.