Beenz.com was a web site that allowed consumers to earn beenz, a type of online currency, for performing activities such as visiting a web site, shopping online, or logging on through an Internet service provider. The beenz e-currency could then be spent with participating online merchants.
The marketing and brand concept positioned Beenz as ‘the web's currency,’ global money that would challenge the world’s major currencies. The Beenz management team raised almost $100 million from venture capitalists including Apax/Patrickof, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Francois Pinault of PPR, Vivendi Universal, Italian financier Carlo de Benedetti and Hikari Tsushin of Japan.
Since launching a new currency is illegal in many countries, beenz management and its legal teams had to meet with finance ministers across Europe to assure them that Beenz would be categorized as virtual points. Within days of its launch in the UK, Beenz' offices in London were visited by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) on suspicion of operating an unlicensed bank (apparently the FSA misunderstood that the 'Bank of Beenz' on the website was, in fact, just a marketing name for the user account area. The company agreed to change this to 'My Beenz' and the FSA was satisfied). Beenz received several awards for its marketing campaign.
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