This year’s annual chat bash was one for the record books, spanning over four hours, with 301 attendees from 36 states and Canada and guest speakers (or, chatters!) from seven rewards programs, a popular shopping site, and three money-saving blogs (including my good pal, chat co-host, and blog designer extraordinaire Ginger of AttentionTargetShoppers.com)!
It was epic and I’m still recovering, but here are some of the highlights:
David Coppins and Evan Weisenfeld of Upromise (aff) talked about their in-store eCoupons program, a new partnership announced just last week that will allow members to earn rewards off-line at several stores and catalog merchants, and they fielded some questions about their dining rewards program.
Scott Dudelson of Swagbucks (aff) addressed concerns about the limits they just put in on prize redemptions, emphasizing that as they have added $25 and $50 Amazon prizes, members can actually cash out for more Amazon credit than before. “We are not in financial difficulty — we want to be sure that everyone has a fair shot to get all the prizes they want,” he said. He also gave us an exclusive SwagCode for 3 Swagbucks.
Nicki Hayes of Memolink (aff) teased us with news of some upcoming events they have planned, including a double point merchant of the day and a referral contest called the Holiday Hookup that’s starting this week. “Recommend a friend, and win back what you spend.” She gave all chat attendees a special Memocode to enter for 100 points, and she also awarded five gift cards totalling $260 to chat attendees (congrats to Dennis G. — the chatter who had been with ML the longest, since 5/99, Karen K., Janet S., Liz B., and someone else whose name I didn’t catch!).
Craig Cassata of MrRebates (aff) gave us some interesting trivia about his program — they have an A+ rating with the BBB, have been around since 2002, and the most requested merchant for which they don’t reward is Lowes. (Lowes doesn’t have an affiliate program; no rewards program has them.) He also told us about an increased cashback event they just started at MrRebates, and they’ll also be doing an instant-win contest from 11/27 through 12/24. He gave away a couple of huge prizes, too (I didn’t catch who won those, sorry!).
Dmitry Beker of QuickRewards.net (aff) talked about ways to earn on QR and the fact that his program requires no minimum to cash out for PayPal, or that you could save up for gift cards to popular retailers. A new system is coming out soon, he said, and he also told chatters that some great holiday promotions were coming up. He gave away free t-shirts to four lucky chatters (Liz B., Shelly W., Lynn R., Barb M.) and a $20 Godiva GC to two others (Connie R. and Nelda D.).
Karen of MrsDealFinder came and talked about some of the money-saving information available on her blog, and she also gave away some movie tickets (didn’t catch who won those).
Rebecca of Alice.com (aff) talked about how they cut out the middleman to offer competitive prices on groceries and health and beauty items, and about the great eCoupons that auto-apply at checkout. She also talked about how to find the best deals on Alice (it’s under Other Ways to Shop, Shop the Best Deals), and how shipping’s free when you buy 6 items or more — or free with just ONE item on your first purchase. She offered $10 Alice GCs to the first ten people to email her but when she was overwhelmed with emails, she extended it to twenty winners! I don’t have all those winners’ names but you know who you are; congrats!
Poppy of Ebates (aff) told us about the Ebates blog (which I was surprised to learn not everyone knew about). She said Ebates had some big plans for increased cashback over the holidays and they also have some increased rates going on for a bunch of their merchants throughout November. She also talked about the option to be paid by PayPal rather than the traditional Big Fat Check.
Jaime of EngineerADebtFreeLife talked about some of the great frugal living content on her blog and invited us to check it out.
The Chatroll client didn’t have an archiving feature so there’s no transcript available of the chat, and I have to tell you, it was moving SO fast at times that it was hard to keep up! I was also dog-tired by the end of it (still am!), so if I missed anything worthy of the highlight reel, someone please leave a comment and refresh my memory!
There was some interest expressed in the chat for a follow-up chat or series of chats dedicated to getting newbies up to speed with rewards programs and couponing. Chatters interested in this emailed to let me know and I have a folder set up to contact them with details when Ginger and I can get this scheduled. You can also email me here if you’re interested.
Ginger and I both gave away a good number of prizes during the chat. My winners included Linda, Susan N., Mary G., Chrissy, Jaime, Tiffany, and Janine V., who won $50 Restaurant.com GCs; Carrie K., Sarah L., Ashley W., and Linda2000 who won $5 Amazon GCs; Martha S. and Ruthann L. who won Memolink totes; Carol E., Kim S., Tanya F., Andrea M., and Misty P. who won Memolink swag packs; Linda D. who won $5 in PayPal; Val and Reen who won free magazine subscriptions of their choice; Karen M. who won a leather checkbook cover; Nancy L. who won an Alice tee; and Connie R., Dennis G., Lynn R., Carole L., and Colleen L. who all won MyCokeRewards codes.
Ginger awarded Gooseberry prize packs to Sarah L, Chrissy S., Mary G., Linda F., Vicky K., Janine V., Andrea M., Kim S., Karen M., Sarah G., and Susan N. Margo L., Sarah L., Barbara M., and Becky C. won reusable shopping bags, Nancy L. won a $25 Target GC, and Lynn R. and Sarah L. both won coupon binders. Whew! As I said, this chat was epic!
Huge thanks go out to all of my guest speaker/chatters for the great prize donations and for giving up some of your weekend to talk with us about what your programs and websites have to offer! I know *I* learned some new things! Time constraints kept us from getting into too much detail with any of the programs, but most of the guests have told me they’d be interested in doing separate chats to discuss their programs in depth in the future — look for an at-least monthly chat series starting in January!
Huge thanks also to my co-host, friend, and “partner in crime” Ginger of AttentionTargetShoppers.com. She spent a LOT of time designing the RewardsChat blog layout and graphics, setting up the chat system, creating buttons, and spreading the word about the chat to her loyal readers. If you’re not familiar with her site, please go check it out — it’s an INCREDIBLE free resource to help you shop smarter and save money! Chatters last night were raving about how the Target deals she posts, including the weekly matchups of sale items and printable coupons, have saved them loads of cash!
And last but certainly not least, huge thanks to my blog readers, former trivia newsletter subscribers, and new friends for coming to the chat and making it such a success with your enthusiastic participation. Whether your interests lie in cashback for online shopping, earning cash from surveys, searches, and other online activities, using online or printable coupons, or finding other ways to live within your means, I hope you found something during Chat Bash 2009 that you found interesting and useful. I had a blast chatting with everyone and I thank you for your time and for your continued support of CompareRewards.com.
If you’re not signed up already to receive a daily email when I post new content to CompareRewards, here’s the link — that way you’ll be sure to get notified of next year’s event and any other upcoming chats, and you’ll know when I have news and reviews posted, too.
Thanks again for coming out, and we’ll do it again next year!