Posted by Elliot Chan on Jan 27, 2014
Formerly published by Techvibes.
Free money! Now that I have your attention, let me tell you about Toronto-based Qriket, an app that goes against the grain and offer users an opportunity to win real money—not game tokens, not experience points, but real money.
Don’t be too skeptical, because Qriket functions as a very rational marketing tool for local businesses and brands. Instead of bombarding a wide audience with media and static ads, Qriket’s partners enable users to choose what they want to consume and their price. Whether by clicking on content located on the “Qriket feed” or venturing out to find QR codes, users can earn gaming credits or “wands” to play various games and earn, you got it, money.
So far, users have won $1.44 million from the Toronto-based company.
“We want to gamify the consumption of media on a mobile device,” Jonny Comparelli, founder and CEO of Qriket, explained to Techvibes. “We want to make it worthwhile for people to communicate with brands, and get deals offers and promos.”
Starting out as a simple QR code scavenger hunt app and then evolving into the daily revenue sharing platform it is today was a long five-year journey for Comparelli and the team at Qriket. The objective and original vision has not change though and that was to bridge the gap between digital media and out of home media. The way they have achieved that is by bringing it close to home.
Qriket in-store allows participating retailers to print out dynamic QR codes and encourage customers to engage with them every time they make a purchase. After buying a cup of coffee or a sandwich, users will see a code on the bottom of their receipt. They can then snap it with the Qriket QR scanner and earn anywhere from 5% to 200% cash back on any purchase.
“For the hyper local level it has turned out to be a great alternative for these small businesses,” said Comparelli. “You can use the giants like Facebook and Twitter if you are a brand and you can command that audience. But if you are Joe’s coffee shop on Queen Street it’s very hard to utilize digital market to your advantage.”
Qriket fills the gap by partnering with companies that are willing to spend anywhere from a dollar to a half-a-million in advertising. Functioning as a performance-based marketing platform, Qriket doesn’t charge their partners anything for impression (cost per clicks). That way the business involved will be able to tell their story to a larger audience in a larger region and only pay for those that are opting to engage with them. If the audience doesn’t want to engage, well, that’s fine—everyday they are offered free chances to win money by spinning a colour wheel.
Whether you are a diehard Qriket user or a simply someone testing out the water earning a little bit each day for partaking in incentives, Qriket wants to be a platform users will check on a daily bases for benefits.
“No matter where you are [Qriket] can be this great umbrella loyalty program for businesses,” said Comparelli. “It doesn’t require any software or hardware and we are actually printing those dynamic QR codes for businesses to sign up for this loyalty program that is just cash back everywhere you spend. And we tie it in to the Qriket vision which is to allow all our users to share in the revenue made from their interaction and their engagement—and I think that is what’s missing in the tech-landscape today.”
While some may believe that QR codes are obsolete and out of fashion, Qriket is not worried about the fate of any linking code as they make plans to expand to the US and five major cities on the east coast; already the startup boasts nearly 110,000 monthly users and revenues of almost $3 million.
“The QR code is nothing more than a digital engagement token,” noted Comparelli. “For us it was never about saving the QR code—if the time comes when something else is more prevalent or more accessible or cheaper to implement than a 2D-printed QR code than that’s what Qriket will use to tie your profile to what you are spending. Otherwise, it’s about coming up with creative ideas for what the technology actually is, as opposed to linking a URL and thinking we’ve hit the jackpot in engagement.”