Gush Ad is an online social media marketing and advertising platform that connects brands closely with consumers. It hosts an online rewards programme where consumers are incentivized as they interact with advertisements, enabling them to earn real money and rewards from the platform.
It is based in Singapore, and currently also holds offices in San Francisco, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Gush Ad is owned by Gushcloud Pte Ltd, and is resold by Gushcloud INC in the US and TBG Interactive SDN BHD in Malaysia and PT. Media Awan Digital Indonesia in Indonesia. Gush Ad was recently inducted into the Founder Showcase Hall of Fame as one of two Singaporean-founded companies that has since achieved significant business milestones.
Launched officially on 10 February 2012, Gushcloud was founded by Vincent Ha and Althea Lim, who also previously co-founded The Barnett Group, a boutique digital agency in Singapore.
Gush Ad, which originally was christened as Gushcloud, had registered users known as Gushers co earn GC$ (Gushcloud Dollars) from completing tasks on the Gushcloud platform which could then be cashed out for real money via Internet Banking or PayPal, or donated to charity. Users could also earn Karma Points by completing similar tasks for additional bonuses on the platform, however, this feature was phased out early in its introduction and was not available in Gushcloud 1.5.
Campaigns and rewards
Campaigns fronted by various brands will earn users virtual dollars which could be converted into real money for cashing out. Users earn Gush Points by completing tasks as stated in the campaigns, such as Facebook or Twitter shares, Twitter follows and surveys.
On 29 June 2012, Gushcloud 1.5 was unveiled as a social sentiment network on top of its rewards platform.
Social sentiment network
Presented as an online mood board where users could post up content (usually pictures or videos) on their individual profiles, the social sentiment network provided a platform for members of the community to express how they felt through shares and emoticons. These content (known as stories), were available for viewing on the general dashboard where users could follow or comment on posts left by their friends or strangers, hence determining its "gushworthy” factor on the platform. They were also enabled to express or collect their feelings through the emoticons of "Happy, Sad, Angry, Shock" that appeared on each post, and could also sort stories on their profile according to these emotions and popularity levels as well.
Campaigns & rewards
Users could still perform Twitter follows or Twitter shares through the rewards platform with a new tweak in the system which had both GC$ (Gushcloud Dollars) & KP (Karma Points) earned converted solely into a single currency - Gush Points. Similarly, Gush Points could be cashed out for real money via PayPal or Internet Banking. However, Facebook tasks which were previously available on Gushcloud 1.0 were removed from the platform this time round following Facebook's removal of their API on websites that incentivized activity on its webpage.
A mobile app for Gushcloud 1.5 was available for download in the Apple Store with features similar to that of the website.
The Social Sentiments Network proved to be ahead of its time for Asia, with traction for the Rewards Platform outpacing that for the Social Sentiments Network. The company concluded that the Rewards Platform was more appealing to its predominantly Asia-based users, hence the decision to focus its development and resources on the Rewards Platform. The Social Sentiments Network, Gushcloud.com, is still currently being built, till indefinite notice. The Rewards Platform was rebranded to its existing name today, Gush Ad.
Gush Ad was launched on 23 October 2012 as the social advertising platform that incentivized consumers to interact with advertisements. An interaction could refer to completing surveys, sharing messages, or referring products to friends on social networks such as Twitter through engagement in rewarded advertising tasks. It also saw the fresh conceptualization of a Gush Wallet for advertising credits to be accumulated, where users could earn virtual dollars from campaigns, spend their earnings on the redemption store, or cash out for real money via PayPal or Internet Banking.
Users sign up for an account using their email addresses or their Twitter. It will thereafter be necessary for them to link their Gush Ad account together with their Twitter account to complete Twitter tasks prevalent on the platform.
Users complete tasks known as Gush Ads which include Twitter shares, Twitter follows, Link reviews, Surveys and Downloads for monetary rewards credited to their Gush Wallet or items sponsored by brands advertising their products. Each campaign is fronted by a brand with monetary rewards offered ranging from SGD$0.50 to SGD$1.90. Users are allowed a maximum of 3 tasks/campaigns per day, with the limit increased only if they have successfully referred at least 3 friends who are active on Gush Ad.
- Twitter Share: Here, users are required to first visit a link or webpage relevant to the campaign’s Twitter share before they are allowed to tweet about the campaign to their followers. A minimum of 30 followers is required for users to be eligible for the task. These Twitter Shares include sharing links, information, or promotional rates etc. where users can tweet using an assigned phrase or their own words.
- Twitter Follow: Users are required to follow a specific Twitter Handler as specified by the campaign straight from the Gush Ad platform.
- Link Reviews: Users rate a website or link using emoticons provided on the campaign page.
- Surveys: Upon completion of a survey on the Gush Ad platform, users are rewarded with either virtual dollars to be credited into their Gush Wallet or a sponsored item.
- Downloads: Users download applications on their mobile phones for virtual dollars. Due to the nature of this task, rewards would usually be higher.
- Referral Tasks: Users refer friends to products through a direct link via Twitter or Facebook, and thereafter, earn a cut of their friends' purchases if the deal was completed through the shared link.
Users can spend the virtual dollars credited into their Gush Wallet in two ways:
A minimum of USD$20 in the Gush Wallet is required before a user can cash it out for real money via Internet Banking or PayPal.
Users can also redeem items (ranging from beauty products to giftcards) on the Redemption Store (also known as the Mall) with virtual dollars accumulated from their Gush Wallet.
The company has been in talks with various organizations to move forward with scalable plans via its B2B advertising tools (ad widgets, publisher dashboard, SDKs, APIs). The holding company, Gushcloud P/L, also has a subsidiary arm of bloggers, influencers and celebrities whose social media platforms are marketed by Gushcloud.
Accolades & mentions
Gushcloud was the only Singaporean team that made it to top 10 of the 8th Founder Showcase international pitch competition, coming in 2nd in terms of Judges scores and 3rd place Overall. It has also recently been inducted into Founder Showcase Hall of Fame - an honour reserved for companies that have gone on to achieve “significant business milestones after the event whether by raising funding, building a great business, or disrupting an industry”. Gushcloud was also named as one of 5 startups to look out for in VisionWiz’s coverage of Founder Showcase.
Gushcloud was also voted “Most Promising Startup” in I-S Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards in May 2012 and was also the only Asian top 20 finalist in Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) Silicon Valley appAttack 2012. Its marketing campaign for Air France KLM under Gush Ad garnered another nod as finalist in Marketing Magazine Marketing Excellence Awards 2012 (Singapore) in the category of Excellence in Social Media Marketing.
Gushcloud closed a seed round in February 2012 from F&H Holdings. F&H Holdings is co-founded and chaired by Mr John Wu who was previously the Chief Technology Officer of Alibaba Group and part of the key management team of Yahoo! Inc.
- Techinasia - Singapore-based Gushcloud launches office in San Francisco
- Founder Showcase - Hall of Fame
- e27.co Online Tech News Portal - Get rewarded with Gushcloud (1.0)
- Marketing Interactive - New service pays users for tweeting
- Founder Showcase - Hall of Fame New Inductees
- VisionWiZ - Top 5 startups
- I-S Magazine - Most promising start-up at I-S Reader’s Choice Awards
- GMIC appAttack - 2012 Winners & Finalists
- Marketing Magazine - Marketing Excellence Awards 2012 Finalists
- The Business Times - A passionate entrepreneur with lofty aims – Vincent Ha (Gushcloud)
- Yahoo! Finance - Gushcloud receives seed funding from Singhome Fund