Wow, 2004 was an interesting year for those of us involved with rewards programs! How much of 2004 do YOU remember? Revisit some of the highlights — read on!
2004 — what a year! We saw two programs shut down (Trocamania and ReadersWritersRewards), and we saw five more launch or re-launch (SavingsRegisterRewards, SixQuestions, Sploofus, StockBack, and WinAtlanta). Memolink got into a world of trouble, and yet it somehow survived…maybe thanks in part to its involvement with LuckyPoints and SavingsRegisterRewards. Milesource angered its users by upping redemption costs to a ridiculous level while lowering what they paid for referrals. And two of the smaller programs, QuickRewards and CreationsRewards, continued to gain favor with users for their customer service. What a long year! Here for your enjoyment (or just to jog your dusty ol’ memory, if yours is like mine), is a recap of the big headlines by month.
David Asseoff, President and CEO of Memolink, claimed via his bio on another website he owned, that Memolink was profitable. That didn’t jive much with the email sent that month to Memolink members saying that earlier statements from the company that they were a half million dollars in debt and didn’t know when they’d be able to pay their members long overdue redemptions. Milesource reduced the amount of referral income their users could earn. And QuickRewards and CreationsRewards teamed up
to offer CR points as a redemption at QR.
SavingsRegisterRewards.com debuts. Milesource drastically increases the points cost of their redemptions. Interesting,
because SavingsRegisterRewards‘ URL is registered to Milesource’s parent company…AND because Memolink licenses out the program SRR uses (and even sends out SRR’s redemptions). Oh, the mind boggles… Memolink, meanwhile, deletes a ton of accounts when users took advantage of a system glitch to get extra points on the site. Memolink and its sister sites, SRR and LuckyPoints, all change their terms to only allow one account per household (though existing multiple-account households are supposed to be grandfathered in). Also in Feb., I completed my annual (ugh, means I gotta do this again soon) report — Best Rewards Programs for Shopping Rebates. Netflip, QuickRewards, and ClubMom were the top 3, by the way.
ClubMom stops rewarding for purchases at JCPenney B&M stores. QuickRewards unveils its new Frequent Shopper Program. SixQuestions launches its rewards program and VERY quickly grows in size.
Memolink again catches heat, this time for harassing the users with multiple accounts in their household that were grandfathered in after the terms change in Feb. Now they wanted proof of ID before paying folks, delaying even further many folks’ redemptions. Pointpool drops the value of the free bitcard they send when you cash out for a GC, from 200 to 50 points. BabyMint’s parent company (Vesdia Corp.) buys the old StockBack rewards program and relaunches it. Meanwhile, the guys in the white hats, QuickRewards and CreationsRewards, both receive the BeenPaid seal of approval for “a proven track record of paying their members.”
ReadersWritersRewards begins their own Frequent Shoppers Program…must not be too successful, though, as RWR shuts down
entirely in September. Memolink posts a new “formula for payments,” which gives precedence in receiving their redemptions to users who complete 3 or more 300-point transactions. SixQuestions adds a games section. PointPool adds hidden banners for points and threatens users who go directly to point links without clicking through. And QuickRewards and ClickToTheMagic team up to offer CTTM points as a redemption on QR.
Ebay announces a partnership with Metareward (owned by Netflip). Not sure how it’s going to work and as of Jan. 2005, we still haven’t seen anything come of this “partnership.” Sploofus launches its program as a trivia game only; they don’t receive a financial backer to pay for rewards until November. Following in JCPenney’s footsteps, Payless Shoes announces it’s dropping out of ClubMom Rewards in-store rewards program effective in July.
Trocamania officially shuts down. There hadn’t been much to that site in years, anyway. SixQuestions adds rewards for shopping. Memolink’s in hot water again, this time it’s listed as one of only THREE “well-known online organizations” spamming
– out of 1,057 surveyed by ArielSoftware. The CompareRewards TriviaAnswers newsletter turns one year old!
Ebates begins offering payment via Paypal (hey, welcome to the 21st century, guys). Milesource blames a “technical glitch” for being unable to send redemptions. SixQuestions draws criticism from a rival trivia site for plagiarizing quizzes — but all quizzes are user-submitted, so it turns out the “bad guys” are the lazy members trying to earn points for submitting quizzes they found on the other site.
BabyMint adds a redemption option: put your earnings toward paying off your existing student loans. Adam of SixQuestions guested CompareRewards chat and fielded a lot of questions (and some user frustration) on his program. In another CompareRewards chat, the owners of ClickToTheMagic (Bonnie), CreationsRewards (Chris), and QuickRewards (Dmitry) all came by to talk about their programs.
Circuit City unveiled its rewards program. Max returned to MyPoints for weekly visits through 12/20.
JCPenney considers launching their own rewards program. WinAtlanta, a clone of SixQuestions, launches its program.
Subway officially discontinues its Sub Club rewards program as of month end. It’s unclear if they will revamp the system or offer a lower price menu instead. Employees complained that their floors would be littered with the little stamps at the end of the day. (Darnit, y’all, we missed an opportunity there!) Otherwise…all’s quiet on the rewards program front. No news is good news? Guess we’ll see in January!