Interview with Extrabux.com

October 15, 2007 · 0 comments

This weekend, I was granted an exclusive interview with the founders of Extrabux.com, a site that I recently reviewed for CompareRewards (see my Extrabux review here). My questions and their answers follow:
Extrabux was launched in June of 2006. Can you tell me a little about your background and why you decided to start a rebate site? How familiar were you with rebate/rewards programs before you started one yourself?
Extrabux began as a “pet project” among two college students from the University of Southern California, Noah Auerhahn and Jeff Nobbs. After much discussion and research into the online shopping industry, Noah and Jeff realized the amazing potential that online retailers offered through their affiliate marketing programs. Essentially, if a website directed a customer to an online retailer, that website would receive a percentage of that customer’s total purchase. Noah and Jeff didn’t like the idea of creating a website solely to drive traffic to online retailers just so they could make money. Instead, they wanted to adopt a customer based approach whereby Noah and Jeff could recruit customers to their site, track their purchases, and reward customers directly for their purchases. Thus, Extrabux.com was born.
What, in your mind, sets Extrabux apart from your competition?
Extrabux maintains a strong focus on keeping our website simple, clean, and easy to navigate. Too often, websites are cluttered with information and fancy images that intimidate users. Extrabux believes that we don’t need a complicated website. Instead, we focus on the quality of our product and our industry best cash back rates, which attract customers.
Extrabux offers great rebates, often higher than your competitors — how can you afford this? Are these promotional rates, or is this what we can expect from Extrabux all the time?
From the beginning, Extrabux has been extremely well managed from an organizational standpoint. Our focus has never been on buying expensive equipment to run the business or other luxuries that many companies adopt. Rather, our focus has been on keeping the company small so that we can effectively manage our costs. Thus, we have limited our overhead and are able to pass on our savings directly to our customers. Extrabux has a goal of saving our customers as much money as possible. We feel that by providing higher cash back rates, we can create a sense of more tangible savings, which leads to happier customers; and with happy customers comes more purchases, more loyalty, and more referrals. With the success of this philosophy, as demonstrated through the growth of our customer base, it is our intention to continue to offer the highest rates on the internet for rewards based shopping.
I really like the coupons section you have up on the site — with the list sortable by store name, coupon amount, and expiration date…and I like that you can flag specific coupons to come back to later. By using a coupon on your list are we assured that we’ll get credit for both the coupon and the cash back? How often do you add coupons to this list?
The coupons we add to the site allow users to save directly from their purchase at the online retailer. After the coupon has been deducted from the purchase, Extrabux receives a percentage of that new discounted price. In essence, the customer gets to use two coupons on their purchase—one directly at the store and one through Extrabux that comes as cash back.
Coupons are added daily, or whenever they become available from the online retailers. The best time for customers to check for new coupons at their favorite stores is the beginning of the month. Most retailers inform us of their monthly coupons a few days in advance, so we can upload the coupons ahead of time so users have access to the coupons right when they become active. However, it is also important to check in throughout the month as we are constantly adding new coupons, some of which only last for a couple of days, but provide huge savings.
We have also added a new coupon newsletter that we send at the beginning of every month. In this newsletter, we inform our users about the most popular coupons and those coupons that we believe should be featured.
The minimum to cash out your rebate earnings from Extrabux is $10. How long is it after a purchase is made until it shows up as “pending”? Roughly how long does it stay pending until it can be cashed out? How long does it take after a member requests a payment for him to receive his money (by check or by PayPal)? Do you make payments monthly, weekly, or daily?
After a customer makes a purchase through Extrabux, it usually takes about 1-3 days (depending on the retailer) for that purchase to be displayed as “pending” in our customer’s accounts. This delay is expected because the online retailer must first process the customer’s order, and from there, our system must receive the order and upload it into the customer’s account.
The “pending” period for cash in a customer’s account is about the same length of time as that of the store’s return policy. Extrabux must use this pending period in case a customer decides to return his/her order to the store. On average, most purchases will be marked as pending for 45 days. This is due to the fact that most stores have a 30 day return policy and can take up to 15 days to process a return. After that 45 day period has passed, the cash will be available for the user to receive as a payment.
Once a customer requests a payment, Extrabux immediately processes the request. Customers may also request to have payments sent every X months or only once their account balance reaches a minimum of $X.XX Customers that use PayPal can expect the money to be transferred into their PayPal account within one day of the request. For customers who prefer their payments to be sent by check, they can expect their checks to arrive within 7-10 days from when they requested a payment, which includes the time it takes to process and deliver the checks.
Other competitors send checks only a few times a year, but Extrabux gives our customers the freedom to receive their available cash back whenever the customer wants (as long as that customer has an account balance of at least $10).
Extrabux has a commitment to giving back to charitable organizations, through an option for members to donate earnings to charity as well as through Extrabux’s Charity of the Month program. Tell me more!
When users request a payment, they are given the option to donate all of their earnings or a specified portion of their earnings to the charity of their choice (we currently have 12 charities, but hope to add more soon). In the near future, we plan to develop custom landing pages from charity websites. For example, a link to Extrabux from the American Red Cross would bring visitors to an Extrabux page that is completely tailored to the American Red Cross.
Unfortunately, due to Amazon.com’s policies, we will no longer be able to offer cash back at Amazon.com, even if it is donated to the Charity of the Month.
Extrabux recently celebrated its first year of operation. In what ways has Extrabux changed over its first year, and what goals do you have for the site in the future?
The first year of operation for Extrabux has been very rewarding. We celebrated our first year anniversary by redesigning the site to provide our customers with easier access to their stores and to help attract new customers. In August 2007, Extrabux unveiled its new referral program, which gives customers $3 for every friend they refer to Extrabux, and there is no limit to how many friends you can refer. The referral program has been very successful, and after its debut, Extrabux experienced a tremendous increase in new customers.
In our first year of operation, we have focused heavily on improving the site so as to best maintain it for our customers’ preferences. We get dozens of emails each day requesting stores to be added or suggesting small fixes to the site design, and we read every email and discuss potential ideas with our software programmers daily. Extrabux really values our customers’ opinions, and much of our development over the past year has been due to their communication with Extrabux.
Currently, Extrabux is working on its next phase of development, which we expect to debut by summer 2008, along with other smaller improvements throughout the year. We are always looking to make our site more user friendly, and we are also exploring new opportunities to provide our users with exactly the stores and coupons they want. In addition, we will be instituting a new email program that informs users immediately about updates on their favorite stores or coupons, so users can take advantage of savings immediately when they become available.
Do you send out any kind of newsletters or account statements by email, to help remind us to shop through Extrabux?
Extrabux doesn’t like to bombard our customer’s with daily emails. We value our customer’s privacy and time. Extrabux provides two monthly emails—one that focuses on coupons, the other that concentrates on featured stores and opportunities for the month.
We also send a confirmation email immediately after a user registers with our site, in addition to notifications immediately when a purchase is uploaded onto Extrabux. Furthermore, once a customer’s cash back is available in his/her account, Extrabux notifies the customer so he/she can withdraw the money immediately after it becomes available.
In the future, we are looking to create innovative emails that are personally tailored to our individual customer’s preferences. By doing this, we will provide our customers with information about the stores and products they care about most.
Is there anything else you’d want to tell people considering joining your program?
Extrabux truly appreciates every customer who signs up for our program. Extrabux is completely free and we will never ask for any personal financial information. At Extrabux, our primary concern is passing on savings to our customers. We want to encourage the growth of online shopping and believe we can do so by providing shoppers with access to the best cash back savings and coupons on the internet.
If at any time you have any questions about Extrabux, feel free to contact us at info@extrabux.com and we will respond promptly.
A big thanks goes out to Extrabux for taking the time to respond to my questions! If you’d like to check ‘em out, please join Extrabux here!

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