Interesting Reading About Greenpoints’ Owner

March 1, 2008 · 0 comments

I haven’t covered the bankruptcy of’s owner in all that much depth — their online shopping site is incredibly ho-hum and there are no participating grocery stores where I live, so it’s just not a program that I ever use. I did come across a couple of interesting articles in the last few days about the shenanigans going on with Greenpoints’ parent company, Solidus Networks, which does business by the name Pay By Touch. is a blog that, through research and insider tips, has covered Pay By Touch in detail for a long time. It chronicles the company’s downward spiral here:
A founding shareholder of Pay By Touch runs the Biometric Payments Blog at Blogspot. It focuses on the technology involved in the technology used by PBT to, well, pay by touch. He did, however, post a brief rundown of the events of the last few months at PBT here: He likens the events to a “bump in the road” and says that PBT is “firmly committed” to the two divisions they intend to keep, which includes S&H (Greenpoints).
This blog post, by a former Pay By Touch employee who recently left the company after 2.5 years, describes what it’s like to be in a startup company already in bankruptcy: He makes a good point that even after (if?) the company survives the bankruptcy, it will have to battle loss of employee morale, as well as the company being tainted by its “formerly bankrupt” label, which can make it less appealing to do business with.
The only conclusion I can draw from this reading is that it’s not clear that Greenpoints is better off by being one of the business units Pay By Touch has decided to keep. The obvious concern is whether PBT can get the necessary funding to continue operating, as well as the organization and management in place to KEEP it operating. But that’s just one concern.
The bigger question I have is: Pay By Touch knows biometrics (I assume), but do they know loyalty? It’s a whole ‘nother ball game. PBT thinks it can combine its biometric identification (fingerprinting or something a lot like it) with Greenpoints’ in-store loyalty program and make it successful. It does have benefits to the merchant — the “electronic wallet” payment system PBT sells eliminates the merchant’s credit card processing costs, plus the merchant will never be deprived of valuable consumer purchasing insight when he forgets to use his loyalty card…it’s all tied into the finger scan. PBT tries to sell customers on the service by saying that once their financial information and loyalty program info is scanned in (along with their fingerprint), they won’t have to carry cards around with them anymore. But will shoppers, in an increasingly privacy-sensitive world, be willing to have all of their financial information and their shopping behavior, along with the most personal unique identifier of all, their fingerprint, handed over to some other party…in exchange for not needing to carry a wallet?
Maybe, just MAYBE, they’ll be able to convince the younger generation to do this. But if you were born before 1984, you’re going to have grave concerns about giving anyone that much access to your privacy. And as for that younger generation…how much in-store shopping are they doing, anyway, compared to online? Biometric technology isn’t a real benefit there, is it?

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