The New York Times has an interesting story on Next Jump, a company that handles employee discounts and customer rewards programs for a number of businesses.
More than 100 million Americans have access to Next Jumpâ€™s e-commerce marketplace, and 10 million a year are customers.
As it has quietly expanded, Next Jump has been gathering data, and not only from companies and customers. It also gets credit-card transaction data from American Express and MasterCard. This vast trove â€” accumulated over years â€” is the companyâ€™s most precious asset, analysts say.
Next Jump analyzes that data to draw inferences about what a person would be likely to buy, and at what price. Its network also includes 28,000 retailers who can specify the characteristics of customers â€” age, location, income, for example â€” that they are most interested in luring with certain products.
Next Jumpâ€™s software then tailors offerings to small segments of potential customers, down to individuals, often reaching them with e-mail alerts. â€œItâ€™s true microtargeting,â€ Mr. Kim said. […]
Gautam Arora joined the company in June, after receiving his masterâ€™s degree in computer science from Georgia Tech. He chose Next Jump over Microsoft and a few Silicon Valley companies.
â€œI had my doubts at first,â€ Mr. Arora said. â€œFrom the outside, it looks like just a shopping portal for employee perks. But look more closely, and you see a company that has morphed into a personalized advertising platform, and a company that could influence how advertising and marketing are done on the Internet.â€