The history of the cashback market within the UK began many years ago with the launch of a number of affiliates utilising the 50% cashback / loyalty model to acheive substantial revenue figures. The likes of GreasyPalm, rPoints, FreeFivers and Mutual Points all jousted for the last click, with the emphasis on engaging a new customer into becoming a loyal addict who sought to build up their cashback or points account.
The Birth Of 100% Cashback
Heightened competition began with a number of new cashback websites utilising the 100% cashback model, working by passing all of the affiliate commission back to the user, and charging an annual fee back to the user. Whilst TopCashBack doesn't charge an annual fee for using the site, new cashback sites that followed the 100% model included Quidco, TopCashBack and CashbackKings (who've since entered administration). These sites soon became the website of choice for consumers when using cashback, and in the current day Quidco and TopCashBack are most likely battling it out for top spot in affiliate rankings within the UK. Some are even stated to offer 110% cashback to the end user.
Distinct Lack Of 100% Cashback Within The US
With the success of the 100% cashback model within the UK, we've often wondered why many haven't taken the plunge and launched a similar model across the pond, and if they have attempted it, why have most (if not all) failed to make a dent in the US cashback and loyalty market?
The most well known Cashback Websites (or Rebate Websites as it's more commonly referred to) in the US are still retaining a proportion of the commission. FatWallet, eBates, MrRebates and ShopAtHome.com seem to be the most popular sites and all operate the revenue pleasing 50% model. So, is the 100% model underestimated, impractical or simply untested in the US?
Let's not forget another reason why 100% UK cashback websites are able to keep operating, thanks to the introduction of tenancy placements on their sites plus we hear rumblings of some cashback sites that are receiving additional performance bonuses from Agencies and Networks for promoting their advertisers above others in the space, which adds a bonus structure to their affiliate earnings and is something that isn't passed back to the consumer as cashback. Perhaps this is seen as unusual activity for networks in the US?
TopCashBack's US Launch To Rival FatWallet's Market Share?
Launching today, TopCashBack have entered the US market with the hope of driving customers through their portal by offering higher cashback rates and no overhead costs. James Little, Partnerships Director at TopCashBack, said:
"Our ability to mutually benefit both our members and partners, by rewarding shoppers for spending thus producing a radical increase in brand awareness and sales for businesses, has been a phenomenal success in Britain. It’s on the back of this that we’re now branching out across the pond so American consumers and merchants can enjoy everything TopCashBack has to offer them too.
"Just like TopCashBack.co.uk is the most generous cashback site in the UK, TopCashBack.com aims to be the most generous cashback rebates website in the USA, while still offering the highest level of customer service and keeping to our ethos of ‘Fair Play’, which underpins everything we do as a company. We're incredibly enthusiastic about the journey ahead, which will see us connect new shoppers to merchants, strengthen existing relationships and create new and exciting opportunities and offers for all.”
With a previous UK affiliate having attempted to take a slice of the US cashback market (and failing!) it will be interesting to see whether the option to attain higher cashback rates will aid TopCashBack's pursuit of market share.