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Online Car Auction Uses Rewards Points

5 March 2006

First in New Zealand: Online Car Auction Uses Rewards Points, Not Cash

First in New Zealand, there were online auctions for cash. Now there are online car auctions that use points earned online alone.

In a virtual world twist on real world rewards points, SmileCity ( is auctioning two cars where bidders can use the points they earned online through its website, as denomination. Two car auctions are currently under way and the winning bidders will not hand over any cash during the auction to receive the cars (except for delivery).

SmileCity says this is the first time in New Zealand that a car auction has used online points accumulated in this way.

“These car auctions – worth around $20,000 each – are the largest auctions we’ve undertaken in recommended retail value”, says SmileCity spokesperson Tom Skotidas. “It will be a huge win for someone.”

It works like this: SmileCity ( is a free-to-enrol online community, and New Zealand’s leading internet-based rewards programme. It has more than 110,000 members who have signed up and agreed to receive email marketing offers and surveys. Members are also able to shop through SmileCity, which has over 90 online retailers. The relationship with members is incentivised with rewards points - awarded when they shop online, click on email offers from advertisers, or participate in surveys.

Once members accumulate these points, they can use them to bid in auctions, donate the cash equivalent to charity, or redeem them for cash directly. Members can also invest their accumulated points in a SmileCity ‘eBank’ where they earn around 14% interest on the points annually.

The two car auctions that are currently under way are for a new Hyundai Getz (RRP $22,990) available only to SmileCity Gold Members*; the other for a new Daihatsu Sirion (RRP $18,900) available to all members.

“As at 24 February, the leading bids in New Zealand on the Hyundai Getz and Daihatsu Sirion stood at the cash redeemable equivalent of $60 and $82 respectively”, says Mr Skotidas. “It is possible that the respective auction winners could walk away with a brand new Getz or Sirion for less than $200 each in the cash-redeemable value of their points.”

The car auctions run over six to twelve months, giving more SmileCity members a chance to accumulate enough points to bid. The Daihatsu Sirion auction ends on 14 April 2006, and the Hyundai Getz auction closes on 17 October 2006.

Winners of the auction are asked to pay only the car delivery costs, with around $50 cited as the delivery fee for Auckland and $800 for Invercargill.


Hyundai Getz

Daihatsu Sirion

SmileCity also broke new ground in New Zealand two years ago when it was first to introduce online auctions of goods such as MP3 Players, Ipods and Playstations – all for members’ rewards points.

“We know these types of auctions work in New Zealand,” says Mr Skotidas. “They’ve been very successful.”

About SmileCity SmileCity is New Zealand’s leading internet-based rewards programme. The company recruits members through ad campaigns on TV and in magazines, as well as online. SmileCity members are free to opt-out or unsubscribe at any time.

Advertisers and market researchers use the website as a new channel for one-to-one communications, paying to reach a potential 110,000 individuals. Recent examples of high-profile campaigns include Avis, Xtra and the Electoral Enrolment Centre.

The website and its parent company vigorously protect the privacy of members. They do not rent, sell or reveal any information on their database. SmileCity has a ‘double opt-in’ signup system for new members, and with this it complies with, and supports upcoming New Zealand anti-spam legislation.

A key SmileCity partner in New Zealand is TNS, New Zealand’s largest research company. SmileCity conducts online surveys for TNS, including recent surveys for TV3’s Campbell Live.


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