Mint’s Controversy, Mobile Loyalty Rewards, Opportunities for Mobile Advertising

It seems like Mint is in the news just about ever day now.

Javelin posted an article today titled “Will Mint’s latest upgrades leave an unsavory aftertaste?” The author addresses something that I have wondered for quite a while: does Mint really offer unbiased advice? They obviously are not afraid to rank products according to how much they could save you. However, the author points out that it seems like all of the credit card products that Mint recommends are sponsored products (Mint makes money by offering customers products from their sponsors). He also points out that the new real estate evaluation tools might not be that great of an idea. Mint’s valuation of my house is 16% lower than Zillow’s valuation. These types of estimates are never very accurate and could end up frustrating users.

TechCrunch reports that Mint has riled the mighty Inuit.  Intuit doesn’t believe Mint’s self reported user numbers so they sent Mint a letter demanding information that backs up Mint’s claims.  Mint complied and revealed that their user base is growing by at least 4,000 users per day.  They have a pretty liberal definition of user (anyone who has provided an email address, password, and zipcode), but 680,000 of their 934,000 users have added at least one bank account to Mint.  They did not mention how many of those users are active users (I would guess that about 340,000 of their users log in at least every couple of months).  The link above includes copies of the letters sent by Inuit and the response sent by Mint.

Aneace Haddad’s Taggo adds convenience and one step enrollment to loyalty programs

Taggo consolidates all of your loyalty rewards cards onto your mobile device. Actually, it consolidates them onto a small Taggo sticker that you can attach to your device. You register the sticker on the Taggo website and then tap it at NFC equipped retail pos devices. The divice sends a message to Taggo and Taggo responds with the unique rewards ID for that sticker/store combination. If the customer is not a current rewards member, they are sent a text message, and can apply for the rewards card by responding to the text. I think this is very clever idea with lots of potential. There just a couple of potential roadblocks. 1) The realive scarcity of NFC enabled POS terminals in the US. 2) Customers must pay $10.00 to get the Taggo sticker to put on their phone.

Economic Downturn Will Create Opportunities for Mobile Advertising, Says Analysys Mason

BARCELONA, Spain–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Prospects for mobile advertising in 2009 are promising despite the economic downturn, but realism is called for, says Analysys Mason, the global telecoms adviser during Mobile World Conference.

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