Brian Doxey is the founder and President of Champaign based (but in process of moving to Chicago) startup Frequent Browser.
“In September of 2009 I was in law school at the University of Illinois in Champaign,” said Doxey, “and was thinking about the success airlines had with their frequent flier program and thought to myself, ‘Why aren’t these types of reward programs online?’”
Doxey was so intrigued by the idea of rewards for browsing that he started coding what would be become Frequent Browser that night. He is joined in running the company by CMO Dave Sargent and Director of Business Development Dan Schneider.
“I met Dave in Law School and he had already had success in another startup, Study Blue, so I knew he’d be good to work with.”
“I took a year off from Law School to help launch Study Blue,” said Sargent, “and I loved Brian’s idea when I heard about it. Then I thought of who I knew in Chicago that was successful, had great connections and was someone I wanted to work with. That person was Dan Schneider.”
Dan Schneider is an independent futures trader in Chicago and said, “I was down at Champaign for an Illinois-Indiana basketball game and when the three of us got together over beers and discussed the Frequent Browser idea, I knew it was a great. I was in.”
Frequent Browser is a service that acts as a loyalty program for all of the “Partner Destination” websites that are a part of the network.
“Using Frequent Browser is dead simple,” says Doxey. “You log into Frequent Browser, surf our partner destination sites and earn points. Our motto is ‘Surf, Earn, Score.’”
When a user logs into frequent browser and then browses destination sites, the time they spend on the site is tracked and when points are accumulated, users can cash them in at Frequent Browser to be redeemed with a Reward Partner.
“In the past some companies tried to reward browsing by paying users,” said Doxey, “and that didn’t work. If I get a small check for browsing some websites, I am not really being incentivized a great deal to keep using those sites.” He continued, “When you redeem frequent flier points with an airline, you receive things like seat upgrades or free flights on that airline so you keep interacting with the airline you got the points from. You are rewarded by having further interaction with the brand and encouraged to keep using the brand. We are doing the same thing for the web.”
Frequent Browser has lined up a handful of Partner Destination sites that includes Chicago based Pravda Records, ZogDog, UGallery, Paperwork, microblogging service PingGadget and is in talks with music site juggernaught Rhapsody.
“We just started talking to Rhapsody and they are very interested in what we are doing,” said Doxey, “and we are looking forward to working with them. Like all our current partner sites, Rhapsody is a forward looking company that gets what we are doing.”
Frequent Browser also has a patent pending on what they call ‘Split Source Technology,’ which Doxey explains as being their secret sauce.
“Split Source Technology keeps the user data secure from the partner site. They send their fork of data to Frequent Browser and we check your cookie so we know you are on that partner destination site. Frequent Browser is the only one with a person’s browser data, which they willingly share with us in return for points. We can reward our members for visiting our partner sites without them losing their personal data to every site they visit. It makes our service easy to use and makes people more comfortable using it knowing the partner sites they visit don’t collect data about them.”
“We are the first company to reward browsing with browsing,” said Sargent, “and we are so confident in what we are doing we have trademarked the phrase, ‘Thank You For Using the Internet.’ You are going to see that phrase everywhere sooner than you think,” laughed Sargent.
Frequent Browser recently raised $200K in seed funding from a private equity firm in Deerfield, IL and is in the process of relocating from Champaign to Chicago.
“We have a Chicago office we’re moving into and the more we meet people in the Chicago tech scene, the more we realize Chicago is where we need to be,” said Doxey. “Everyone in tech here is approachable and we’re amazed by the depth of talent and accessibility of people here.”