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This article was published on April 2, 2012

Plyfe gives online advertising a playful twist, aiming to be a win-win for consumers and brands

Plyfe gives online advertising a playful twist, aiming to be a win-win for consumers and brands
Courtney Boyd Myers
Story by

Courtney Boyd Myers

Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups gr Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups grow internationally. Previously, she was the Features Editor and East Coast Editor of TNW covering New York City startups and digital innovation. She loves magnets + reading on a Kindle. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter @CBM and .

The Internet can be an overwhelming place with so much information thrown our way all day and night long. When big brands spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns, the most important thing they care about — their greatest ROI — is your attention and engagement. This is why the quest to gamify the time you spend on Internet is on, with brands, marketers and bored housewives at the helm of the movement.

When we’re playing games, we’re engaged, and advertisers and marketers love this in comparison to annoying banner ads that no one clicks on. One New York City startup believes that not all advertising has to suck. There’s got to be a win-win situation in here somewhere for both brands and consumers, right? Plyfe — pronounced as one word like Wife, so not “P-Life” — is the startup that’s aiming to do just that by letting consumers win prizes for playing games that interact with brands. The company describes itself: “Plyfe is a social media Robin Hood at heart.”

Upon registering on the Plyfe platform, you’ll connect your Facebook profile. Once you find friends on Facebook, you’ll receive 1,000 points for each one that signs up. 1,000 points= 1 raffle ticket; and each of the prizes on the Plyfe platform are raffled away to winners. Later this summer, you’ll be able to connect your Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, Xbox– literally any digital social product or experience.

Moving past the sign-up process, there are 7 active games today on Plyfe. “The Plyfe Game” lets you earn points by watching videos about Plyfe or videos of R Kelly trapped in a closet (multiple installments). If you love brands like Coach, Nike, Bloomingdale’s, Forever 21, Sephora, John Varvatos, there are a handful of other games for you that challenge you to answer questions like “What’s your favorite online store” and watch videos of Gwyneth Paltrow talking about her cookbook in order to win prizes like gift cards, shoes and makeup. Points are accumulated until you have enough to purchase raffle tickets, which can then be used to enter to win certain prizes.

I sat down with Jeff Arbour, the company’s co-founder last week to discuss why I needed some Plyfe in my life. “We’re a platform that rewards users for things they’re already doing in the digital society,” explains Arbour. “We want to personalize the Internet, give users a way to earn points for their contributions to the Internet, and most importantly, find a way to let brands reward their best customers.”

To build Plyfe, Arbour and his 10-person team went out to trusted brands that they thought could help add tactical insights to how they could build relevant and engaging games. One of its first clients, HAULERdeals, an online fashion store, has its game on Plyfe and also has the Plyfe game on its site for cross-promotion.

Today, Disney and the UN Foundation teamed up for a game on Plyfe, which demonstrates the platform can be used for social good as well. “Through Plyfe, we can add value to the United Nations of the world with a small budget, and add value to the United Airlines by extending their rewards programs beyond just buying tickets. Any brand with a digital presence can benefit from the mechanics of the platform that Plyfe has created, which has always been our goal,” says Arbour.

Plyfe is both B2B and B2C; for the meantime, the platform will be free for brand partners. Partnerships will be used to build awareness and an audience, which will then be leveraged to charge brands for hyper-targeted advertisements.

During its beta testing period, the top 10 Plyfe users answered 78,000 questions in the first 10 days. The most active user on the platform was a woman who answered the equivalent of 1 question every minute for 11 straight days. (See a list of the winner’s here.) Plyfe currently has about 24,000 users signed up to its platform.

While Plyfe competes with social behavior and gamification companies like Badgeville and CrowdTwist, it also hopes to augment the reward platforms that already exist for big brands such as MyCoke Rewards.

Co-founders Mateen Ani, Zaw Thet and Jeff Arbour have a challenging, but exciting road ahead. Much of the success of their platform will come from securing the right kinds of brand partnerships and remaining engaging for users with a lot of time on their hands or as passive as possible for busy, Internet users who simply want to rack up points on the platform for using Facebook and Twitter. To help them on this mission, Plyfe raised $1 million from Initial Capital, General Catalyst, Brad Harrison Ventures and a few notable angel investors in early March.

After a quick Google search, you may stumble upon, a game that encourages people to walk their digital fat selves into the outside world, which is unrelated to, the company this story is about. Interested in scoring fun prizes for your time online? Sign-up using the link below.


Liked this? Check out our recent story on how to add stickiness to your campaigns.