Last week, Google bought a company called Punchd, a digital loyalty card service for a reportyed sum of $10 million.
"While our original source pegged the deal at a low seven figures, a second source pegged the acquisition price at more than $10 million," reports TechCrunch.
"Punchd, which is basically the digital equivalent of the "Buy 10 Get One Free Card" offered by coffee shops and supermarkets, is part of Dave McClure's first 500 Startups brood. The acquisition makes complete sense for Google considering how much the NFC and deals space is heating up and the recent Google Wallet announcement."
Essentially Punchd enables small businesses (SMBs) to run loyalty programs on smartphones, very much like paper punch cards (e.g., every 10th latte is free) -- hence the company's name. The customer gets the loyalty card on her phone and each visit is recorded and tracked toward some freebie.
The company uses GPS to verify users are in the store and protect against cheating. Punchd uses QR codes, which is interesting given that Google is essentially walking away from QR codes.
"Punchd indicates that Google is developing some more nuanced thinking about where it wants to go with deals/offers over time. There'll likely be more tools or programs coming that distinguish between new customer acquisition (and related offers) and loyalty in the deals market. Punchd gives Google a potential way to create and support different products for acquisition and loyalty," SEL reports.
"With Punchd Google could also get more data on customer behavior and online-offline activity. Google Wallet (if widely adopted) gives Google the ability to track behavior from digital (or print) ad to the offline point of sale. It can also do that with Offers today, but in a relatively manual way. So, beyond its utility as a loyalty tool for SMBs, Punchd could become part of Google's overall effort to gain more visibility and trackable insight into real-world consumer behavior."
To end the story, Punchd denies that it's been acquired, see the tweets below: