Brand-To-Fan Connector, Crowdtap, Hits $1 Million Revenue With 115,000 Members

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A New York City startup that helps brands connect with and reward their fans via Facebook, Crowdtap, recently crossed the $1 million revenue mark for 2011, with 115,000 active members and about 50 major brand clients, chief executive officer Brandon Evans reported today.

Crowdtap members earn redeemable points for taking “brand actions” like: completing “quick hit” surveys, voting in a poll, participating in a live-online discussions or sharing brand-related content with a few friends via social media and the Crowdtap platform. The points that Crowdtap gives its members can be redeemed for an array of real world incentives, among them: an Amazon.com gift card, or a cash donation to a charity chosen from the company’s list of approved organizations. These range from environmental non-profits like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Nature Conservancy to The American Red Cross, Autism Speaks and Invisible Children.

Crowdtap requires that users donate five percent of their points to a charity of their choice. They can give more if they choose. Since launch, users have racked up $20,000 worth of points in donations to these charities (not all of that has been paid out, yet). Evans said his company aims to give users more and more choices over time; he is constantly adding causes and charities to the list.

To prevent Crowdtap members, who are brand fanatics, from turning into spammers the site only rewards points to users for sharing brand-related content that they “like” with up to four friends online. The points are doled out to the sharer once the recipient rates the content they’ve received.

Users who agree to either create content about a brand — like a video they made about their latest shopping trip to Old Navy— or who volunteer to host a party where they’ll pass around sample products provided by the brand, can gain a stronger reputation (and badges) within Crowdtap. Users with a higher reputation score become eligible for product freebies and other incentives that new or lighter users won’t get.

Marketers and media planners are embracing Crowdtap, Evans explained, because:

“The motivation we provide is not to get someone to simply post something. We motivate members to participate in a [brand's] community and with our site in a way that’s as authentic as it can be. We can provide measurement that’s granular. We factor in proximity, intensity, engagement, and memory— time users spent with a brand in addition to [how many users the brand] reaches.”

[Ed's note: See the screenshot below for a look at the marketer-side of Crowdtap.]

More than 75,000 of Crowdtap’s users signed up after the company launched its site in March at SxSWi, Evans said. The company charges its clients per interaction— if a user agrees to share a brand’s content, or take other actions, that generates a fee for Crowdtap. The number of brand-sponsored actions that Crowdtap members have completed in May 2011 totaled 385,000 Evans said. About 50 major brands and agencies are currently using Crowdtap, ranging from AOL (which owns TechCrunch) to Diesel, GolinHarris public relations, Pinkberry, Entenmanns and the ad agency Mullen.

Crowdtap ran a poll in May 2011— of the type it would run on behalf of an automotive brand or environmental group— for TechCrunch Greentech. We asked the site’s users who are parents: when would you buy an electric vehicle (if ever)?