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Feeling Perky

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Here’s a perk: earning rewards simply by browsing the web. Perk “rewards you for doing what you already do online,” explains the website of Jutera Labs, the creator of this technology.

Launching with more than 2,000 merchants including Apple’s iTunes, Starbucks, BestBuy.com, Kohl’s, Bloomingdale’s and Urban Outfitters, the browser allows consumers to amass loyalty points that are redeemable for actual products and services. Points can also be converted to airline miles or donated to charity.

Perk is based on the same technology underlying Google’s popular Chrome browser; users download and use the free, Chromium-based browser to earn points when they shop, search and share their findings with their friends. Right now Perk can only be downloaded on computers running Windows and Mac operating systems, but a mobile version is planned for early summer.

Reward points vary by retailer. At PetSmart, Perks users can earn up to four Perk Points for every dollar spent. At Walgreens, three points per dollar spent is the norm. There are other ways to rack up points too: If a consumer applies for a Discover Card and is approved, they’ll add 3,250 Perk points to their reward pot.

At face value it seems like a cool opportunity; who wouldn’t want to earn points for something shoppers do all the time? But it’s not as easy as that implies. Shoppers are being asked to download a new browser, for starters. Also, those who have experimented with Perk report that there’s generally a wait involved before users can redeem points.

Shoppers may want to hold off tossing away those key fobs.

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