Last week, BTC rewards startup Lolli announced that it had partnered with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba to reward shoppers during Singles Day. According to the announcement by the startup, users could earn up to 5% back in BTC when shopping with Alibaba. However, as it turns out, Alibaba claims it never partnered with, or even had contact, with Lolli.
Alibaba’s representatives denied the partnership, blaming the mix-up on one of its contractors. Speaking to CoinDesk, the Hangzhou, China-based tech giant revealed that it had gone as far as terminating its relationship with the involved parties.
An Alibaba spokesperson told the news outlet, “One of Alibaba.com’s contractors hired a subcontractor who brokered an affiliate marketing program with Lolli. This was done without the knowledge of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com’s contractor is terminating the relationship with the subcontractor who was working with Lolli. As a result, Lolli should no longer promote or bring traffic to Alibaba.com.”
The spokesperson further went on to insist that Lolli never had a right to claim a partnership with Alibaba.com or the Alibaba Group.
And even though Alibaba claims that it has never had any direct contact with Lolli, the startup has been processing BTC rewards for AliExpress, Alibaba’s online retail subsidiary since May this year.
Despite Alibaba’s remarks, Lolli’s head of communications Aubrey Strobel stated that Alibaba was aware of the partnership, even trialing Lolli’s services for 24 hours during the Singles Day campaign. Alibaba then went on to deactivate the partnership after it drew too much attention, perhaps in fear of rubbing the anti-crypto Chinese government the wrong way.
Strobel stated, “It seems as though there was a miscommunication on Alibaba’s end and while that’s unfortunate, we look forward to the possibility of working with Alibaba.com again in the future. In the interim, Alibaba Group’s AliExpress is still live on Lolli.”
It’s not yet clear as to whether the two companies did partner after all. However, it would appear that Lolli wasn’t lying when it said that there was some agreement between the two companies. CoinDesk claims to have seen contractual agreements between the two companies permitting Lolli to use Alibaba-related keywords in online promotional materials.
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