beenz.com: Out of the frying pan and into the fire?

But at least they're not left on the shelf, past their use by date...

But at least they're not left on the shelf, past their use by date...

The last 12 months have been hard going for web currency beenz. Since its first round of redundancies last year a succession of CEOs have been telling us about their confidence in the company and belief in the online loyalty market. Now with its staff cut from a high of 263 to just nine, beenz has finally found a buyer. Carlson Marketing Group will gather up what is left of the one time dot-com darling and integrate it into its larger operation. beenz boss Stephen Limpe told silicon.com how pleased he is with the deal. "Eventually all proceeds will be returned to the shareholders," he said, with an almost audible sigh of relief. But the deal really marks the end of yet another dot-com dream. Even if Carlson decides the beenz name should live on, it will be with a very different end in mind. When the Anglo-American start-up launched in March 1999 the market for e-currency looked to be a winner. Chairman and CEO at the time, Philip Letts, told silicon.com: "This is going to be the web's currency. It has been designed to be universal and tests we've done make us confident it will work." But e-currency and loyalty schemes have never really taken off. Users, enjoying the choice and diversity of the web, have backed away from anything that ties them down. Even more damaging, retailers and online businesses are still suspicious of new payment schemes, holding back investment until a good idea becomes a proven, winning technology. Limpe is still convinced the market exists, it's just that beenz got to the party unfashionably early. And maybe he's right. But with retailers and buyers still hanging on to their credit cards, it looks like it could be a while before the revelries really heat up.