Upromise Badgers Members to Install TurboSaver Toolbar

October 14, 2009 · 0 comments

I just learned that Upromise has added a Daily Double increased cashback merchant, so today I went to their site to see who it was to post about it. Twice in the process of getting from login to finding out who the Daily Double was, Upromise prompted me to download their TurboSaver toolbar.
Screenshot #1: After entering my Upromise password — can’t even get logged in without clicking the small, hard-to-read “close X” link to say I don’t want the toolbar.
Once I closed the box and it allowed me onto the Upromise page, I clicked the red box behind the pop-up to see the Daily Double, and I got this — Screenshot #2: Uh-oh, RED text saying that I need to take action!
Note the text after “No thanks. Continue.” It makes me acknowledge that “…I’ll be missing out on the college savings.” This is a blatantly misleading statement. You do NOT have to have TurboSaver installed to participate in Upromise (just start shopping at the Upromise.com website)! You also do not have to have TurboSaver installed to participate in the $50K Pre-Holiday Giveaway that they’re advertising here.
I’ve posted before about why I think you should avoid installing TurboSaver or any other toolbar. (More here and here.) It’s very logical from a business standpoint why Upromise is becoming even more aggressive about promoting it as we enter the fourth quarter — it’s the most profitable quarter for retailers, so it’s huge for shopping rewards programs, too. And by getting this piece of software onto your computer, they’re that much closer to being sure they get a piece of the fourth quarter action…even if, perhaps, you wanted to get your shopping reward from a competing cashback program.
From the fine print at the bottom of this second screenshot (emphasis mine): “By installing the Upromise TurboSaver, you give Upromise permission to direct your visits to Upromise online retailers through your Upromise account and, if you are not cookied as a Upromise member, to request that you log in to your Upromise account before proceeding to the retailer’s web site.”
A) Do you want a piece of code on your computer watching what websites you go to so it can report your activities back to Big Brother? And B) Do you want to have to give Upromise permission to redirect your cashback through them if you might earn more from another rewards program?
Upromise is a decent rewards program overall, and I’ll continue to recommend it to others (my link, in fact, if you want to join). It has pros and cons like most rewards programs and it does have some neat features that other programs don’t have, like “eCoupons” that provide cash back to your Upromise account when you shop at a grocery or drugstore using a registered store loyalty card.
However, their constant and aggressive pushing of the TurboSaver toolbar is a SERIOUS negative for the program, IMHO, and I’m not going to promote their Daily Deal here while they continue to require members to walk the TurboSaver gauntlet to get there every day.

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