Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


What was the first online buyer promotion or points program?

I'm digging back into the history of online electronic commerce -- a task I'm particularly suited to do as the founder of The Internet Mall, the first and original online shopping directory, launched in 1994 -- and am interested in hearing from anyone who might have specific data about online frequent buyer programs, even if it's from AOL, CompuServe or similar.

Specifically: what's the earliest online frequent buyer or buyer points program you can recall and what documentation (receipts, email messages, whatever) do you have to back it up?

A useful definition too, just so we're talking about the same thing: I'm defining a frequent buyer program as a promotion where if you buy two items, you get a third free, if you buy $x worth of merchandise you get a free discount, or even that you gained "points" for each purchase you made, accumulating over time...