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Qantas toolbar tracks your browsing and gives points

June 24, 2013 Headline News, Loyalty No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Qantas is offering its frequent flyers a free download of a special toolbar that records their internet searches and web-browsing activity.

“Earn Qantas points just by searching online,” the airline proclaims.

“We will collect this data for the purpose of marketing targeted and relevant products, services and offers we think will be of interest to you,” the Qantas offer states. In return, using the toolbar gives users up to 150 Qantas frequent flyer points a month.

There are a few provisos. To earn points, the search toolbar must be used for “valid” searches only. “Nonsensical” searches don’t count.


“A valid search is a genuine search that is carried out through your normal, every-day search activity and not searches that are nonsensical or conducted via artificial, forced, mechanical, or automated methods,” Qantas notes.

“If your search is not deemed to be a valid search then you will be notified via a pop-up message.”

So no more searching for nonsense.

The Sydney Morning Herald, which drew attention to the new Qantas tool, points out that Flybuys, Australia’s largest loyalty program, owned by Coles, launched a similar toolbar in November.

Some cunning users have apparently been downloading the Qantas toolbar to gain the 200 bonus points Qantas has been offering for doing so. Then, having received those points, they immediately uninstall the toolbar. That particular rort has passed its use-by date, as the 200-points-bonus-for-installing-toolbar offer by Qantas expired yesterday.

Critics contend that toolbars such as the Qantas model represent a high level of intrusiveness for a small return. Other users may consider that revealing their search results to a company interested in such data solely for marketing purposes is an easy way of gaining free points.

Alas, the Qantas Frequent Flyer Toolbar does not work on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It’s a computer gadget.

Once users download the toolbar they must log in using their Frequent Flyer membership details.

Qantas promises that users will not receive any pop-up messages that contain advertising.

“The only messaging that you will receive through the Toolbar will be to notify you as to whether you have conducted a valid or invalid search,” Qantas states.

(Once again: it’s that NO NONSENSE rule.)

Qantas assures users that the toolbar is free from spyware, adware and malware.

When users are logged into the toolbar they earn one Qantas frequent flyer point for every valid search they “perform through the Toolbar or the Yahoo!7 Qantas Frequent Flyer Search Page” up to a maximum of 150 points per calendar month.

Qantas pledges not to disclose data gathered outside of the Qantas Group, “including to any existing or potential business partners or affiliates”.

The following paragraph about the toolbar in Qantas’s question-and-answer section on the airline’s website may also be of interest:

Who is Rakuten Loyalty?

Freecause Inc. (doing business as Rakuten Loyalty) is a U.S. based company that is providing the Toolbar technology on behalf of Qantas Frequent Flyer. Rakuten Loyalty will also operate the customer service centre on behalf of Qantas Frequent Flyer should you have any technical or points earning related queries.

A media release issued a few months ago by Rakuten Loyalty reads:

“Japanese Internet services conglomerate Rakuten Inc., which made a splash in May with its $100 million investment in social media site Pinterest, rebranded its loyalty software company FreeCause to Rakuten Loyalty. The company also announced a partnership with Australian loyalty program flybuys, owned by Coles Supermarkets, that rewards members with loyalty points based on their online search activity.”

Other points from the small print on the Qantas website, relating to the toolbar:

“Qantas or Yahoo!7 are not responsible for any computer or internet errors and points will only be awarded for valid searches as recorded in the Yahoo!7 system. As part of your use of the Toolbar, Qantas will collect personal information including search and web browsing activity collected through your use of the Toolbar and Yahoo!7 search engine and may use it for marketing purposes in accordance with the Toolbar Collection Statement and Toolbar Terms and Conditions.

“By using the Toolbar, you agree to be bound by the Toolbar Terms and Conditions which may be amended at any time.”

Written by Peter Needham

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