Post Offers Rewards Program

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By Frank Ahrens
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 30, 2007

The Washington Post is launching a consumer-rewards program -- similar to those long employed by credit card companies -- designed to help stem sliding circulation and drive readers to its advertisers.

The program, called PostPoints, begins today and will award both subscribers and non-subscribers points that can be redeemed for a variety of products, including food and airline miles.

Users gain points by subscribing to The Post, interacting with features on http://washingtonpost.com, reading Express, shopping at participating merchants and engaging in some volunteer activities, such as donating blood.

About 20 percent of U.S. newspapers have some kind of consumer-rewards programs, according to the Newspaper Association of America, including the New York Times, the Columbus Dispatch and the Sacramento Bee.

Program membership is free and does not require participants to divulge credit card or personal financial information. Anyone can participate, but only subscribers who buy The Post every day can get certain perks, such as free movie tickets. Subscribers will also get points for shopping at participating merchants.

The Post is bearing the program's cost. Post President Stephen P. Hills said the newspaper is making "a significant investment" but declined to say how much. Subscribers will receive sign-up kits in the mail. Others can register at www.washingtonpost.com/postpoints.

"I haven't seen any rigorous studies" analyzing the impact of these kinds of programs, said newspaper analyst John Morton. "The Post plan sounds more ambitious" than others.

The Post's program coincides with the re-launch of its slogan: "If you don't get it, you don't get it."


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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