TrialPay: Turning Indecisive Customers Into Buyers


If you're a seller on the Internet, your mission isn't to get more traffic, it's to actually sell your wares. is a new way to make that happen, as CEO Alex Rampell explains.

What is TrialPay?
TrialPay is a new "alternate payment" platform for consumer e-commerce. Consumers are looking for new ways to pay for online goods (PayPal, BillMeLater, etc.). Merchants need to turn indecisive customers into paying customers by embracing alternate payments. And advertisers are looking to reach more of their loyal customers. Enter TrialPay.

Can you give us an example?
I'm on the McAfee Web site downloading software. I can pay with a credit card ... or hey, I can click on "get it for free with TrialPay." I click on that, it presents me with a dozen or so offers to get my McAfee for free.

So I select, "Spend $50 at the Gap." Hey, I'm a Gap shopper, I'll do that. I click through that, get taken to the Gap Web site, buy $50 worth of Gap products, and then it instantly brings me back to a final checkout at McAfee, where my software is now free.

I get free software. McAfee gets a customer they may not have gotten otherwise. Gap pays McAfee a bounty to get me as a customer, covering the cost of my free software.

It's a little bit like buying the telephone for free if you sign up for a 2 year contract.

Why are merchants so eager to embrace alternate payment methods?

Walk by any store, say a Gap, and it's crowded but only maybe five people will buy something. On the Web it's worse. There's no commitment, no friendly attendant to offer help. On the internet 100 percent of revenue comes from 1 percent of visitors. So this new system could have massive impact on this business. Because the other 99 percent are kind of interested. If they got jeans free, they might buy something.

With TrialPay they can do it if they sign up for car insurance or something else.

The lifetime value of a customer for, say, Geico, is in the thousands of dollars. They have the caveman ads, they have direct mail, but they can also do it thru Trial Pay. Same for Comcast, where the value of a customer is in the thousands. For NetFlix maybe it's in the hundreds.

Geico and NetFlix are both advertisers working with TrialPay. TrialPay hooks up the shopper/consumer with an advertiser and a merchant.

How many merchants do you have?

TrialPay is in use by more than 2,000 premium merchants. TrialPay is not a consumer service. It's something offered to Web merchants (large and small) and advertisers (large and small) which ultimately extends the payment platform for consumers to use. But to be clear, TrialPay is selling to businesses.

How does TrialPay make money?

Advertisers pay a Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) for each new customer they acquire, and TrialPay takes a small portion of this amount as its fee. The remainder of the CPA pays merchants for the free product they give to customers. Merchants pay nothing to implement the TrialPay platform and advertisers pay only for conversions, not for clicks.

Where did you get your start-up funding?

TrialPay is venture-backed, including contributions from Atomico, Battery Ventures, Index Ventures, and individual investors such as Bob Pittman, Ron Conway and several former executives at PayPal.