A UK Web site launched this week is giving surfers a relatively low-tech incentive to shop online -- cash-back.
Users who buy items through GreasyPalm.co.uk will get a cash rebate when they buy items from a range of 150 Internet retailers, including Carphone Warehouse, bol.com and WHSmith.co.uk.
The size of the rebate depends on the individual e-retailer. Rebates of up to 20 percent of a user's spending with a store are possible, but for many of the firms featured on GreasyPalm it is in the region of 1 percent to 2.5 percent.
Cash rebates are paid out every three months as a cheque. GreasyPalm claims that this cash-back system is a good incentive for people to shop online, and for more retailers to move onto the Web.
Neil Durrant, co-founder of GreasyPalm, explained that his firm gets a commission for every sale made via its site.
"Every time an online shopper is directed to a store's Web site from a linked site such as GreasyPalm and makes a purchase, the store always pays a reward commission back to the linked Web site. We are simply sharing that reward with the shopper," Durrant explained in a statement.
"Previous online incentives have used so-called Internet currencies such as Beenz, and have failed because consumers did not see the benefits. There's no clearer incentive to consumers than cash," Durrant added.
Online loyalty schemes do have a somewhat chequered history, with several prominent e-payment pioneers going bust during the dot-com crash.
Beenz had allowed surfers to collect rewards for buying online, or just for visiting a particular site. It announced in August 2001 that it was ceasing its operations -- putting an end to the hope that such Web currency firms could become more powerful than credit card firms.