Just a quick note to commemorate the eighth year in operation of CompareRewards.com. My husband registered this domain for me on 10/19/01, so I could separate out all of the rewards program content from a personal website where I’d been discussing it for some time prior.
Eight in internet years is like 40 in offline years. I’ve seen a lot of programs come and go…and just a handful come and stay a while.
I was cleaning out a junk drawer today and found an old notebook with logins and notes I had scribbled down on rewards programs including FatShoe, Trocamania, SuzyKats, Milespree, Qool, CashIC, Giant Rewards, Blink, BonusTree, Prima Rewards, Milesource, and Netflip…long gone and mostly-forgotten rewards sites. Judging from some other notes I’d jotted down in the book, this would have been from early 2002…probably 3 to 6 months after CompareRewards started.
The sites in my notes that are still in business? Memolink, MyPoints, and SearchCactus. Wow.
There are other programs that have been solid performers for all or most of my 8 years in analyzing these sites, don’t get me wrong…but the duds have outnumbered the keepers by a ridiculous multiplier. You see so many programs come and go that, after a while, you see patterns develop — a life-cycle model of a rewards program. Some fizzle before they really hit their stride. Others start off fast but go downhill just as fast. Right now, who do you see surviving? The programs that have economies of scale, that have grown so large over time that they can negotiate higher cashback rates and build in higher profits… and those that have remained relatively small (by choice or by budget limitations), with overworked but dedicated staff and highly loyal membership. These are the extremes, and there aren’t many programs that operate in-between.
I don’t think there will be a need for a site like mine in eight more years (if the internet still exists at all the way we know it now).
The big players will consolidate and the smaller ones will fade away. But you can be sure that I’ll be here to turn the lights out…unless, that is, Microsoft, Google, or Oprah wants to write me a big check before then.
Thanks for tolerating my self-indulgent nostalgia. Back to business!
There will be an annual birthday chat again this year, once again co-hosted by my good friend Ginger of AttentionTargetShoppers! Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 7th, at 6pm central time. If you’re on staff at a shopping, search, survey, or other rewards program and you’d be interested in attending to answer questions (and hopefully give out some prizes to attendees), RSVP here! If you can’t attend but would still like to sponsor a giveaway or two to be sure your name’s mentioned in what will no doubt be another 4-hour-plus marathon chat session, you can also contact me at the RSVP address.
More details, including where to go to chat, who’s coming, and a partial prize list, will be coming soon! Thanks for reading, and I hope you can be a part of this eighth birthday celebration!