Startup Plink Is Building A Business Out of Facebook Credits With 30,000 Restaurants Nationwide

Peter Vogel, co-founder of Plink

[credit provider=”Plink”]

Plink has only been around for about a year and a half, but it has already convinced a whole bunch of major restaurant chains to give away Facebook Credits.Tomorrow, Arby’s joins Dunkin’ doughnuts, Quiznos, Red Robin and Taco Bell as Plink customers. It’s giving away Facebook Credits at about 30,000 locations nationwide.

More will be coming online in the next few months, including some major retailers, says co-founder Peter Vogel.

Here’s how Plink works: Every time a Plink user eats at one of the participating restaurants, they earn free Facebook Credits.

For instance, Arby’s will give away 10 Credits for every $5 spent. Plink takes a cut of the sales.

Signing up for the program requires registering a credit card with Plink. Facebook Credits are supposed to automatically show up in your Facebook account whenever you use that card.

Plink can see all credit card transactions. It’s is using a reputable company to store credit card info called Yodlee, which serves many of the nation’s biggest banks. 

“We use that data in aggregate,” Vogel says. For instance the data might show that 30 per cent of Arby’s customers also go to McDonald’s and 20 per cent go to Taco Bell, he explains.

Plink’s website has only been live for about six weeks but “tens of thousands” of Facebook users have already signed on, Vogel says.

Naturally, he’s convinced that Facebook Credits are going to become a much bigger deal.

“60 million Americans play games on Facebook. 15 million used Facebook Credits on Facebook to use in the games. Facebook generated about $550 million in revenue in Facebook Credits. That’s 15% of its revenue with only 2% of users using this currency,” he says. “We are scratching the surface of what Facebook Credits will become.”

Right now, Facebook Credits have limited appeal because they aren’t good for anything other than Facebook games.

But there’s a lot of speculation that Facebook will expand what it does with Credits. It experimented for a while in 2010 with a short-lived “deal of the day.”