Changes at SuperPoints.com (LuckySearch) Change My Recommendation to “Avoid”

January 26, 2010 · 0 comments

Update, 4/23: SuperPoints is down but will return, says management. Read the latest update here.
When I originally reviewed SuperPoints.com (then called LuckySearch), I felt that it was a rewards program that offered true benefits to members and I recommended it to others. I no longer do. Here are the facts and you can decide for yourself.
In 2007, LuckySearch started out as a simple search-and-win website, similar to others already out there like Blingo and Winzy (a more recent competitor would be Swagbucks): you’d be awarded points randomly for searching through their portal, and you could cash those points out for prizes. You’d win when your referrals won. The website was completely free.
Later, the site evolved into the Superpoints Network, with more ways to earn points, including shopping online. RewardLadder was added, which wasn’t one of my favorite aspects of the site, but basically if you got enough referrals, who got enough referrals, in a specific timeframe, you’d earn a big prize. In 2008, they added an option to complete offers for points, and in 2009, they added the SuperLucky Button, basically a big button you click for a chance to win points — the more referrals you had, the more times you could click it, up to a max of 100 times a day.
I hadn’t logged in to the site in a while, but last week after receiving an email promising 500 points, “enough for a free $5 gift card from Amazon.com, ExxonMobil, Subway, Dominos, Blockbuster, Quiznos, and more!” to “all new members that you recruit…as soon as they sign up for free as a Basic Member,” I thought it was time to revisit SuperPoints. What was this “basic member” thing, and gosh, giving your friends a $5 GC for free sounded too good to be true!
Unfortunately, it is.
First of all, when I went to the SuperPoints website, I was immediately prompted to either accept their new terms of service or forfeit my account. When I clicked to look at the terms, seeing all of the fine print and not knowing what it said BEFORE, I decided, “Okay, fine, I accept and once I do, I can access the site and see what’s changed.”
That’s when it became clear what a complete mess SuperPoints has become.
There are now four levels of membership on SuperPoints, as you can see here. It’s a lot of info to take in, but I’ll summarize the high points for you:
The 500 points promised to new friends that you refer to the program in that email I received? CAN’T BE CASHED OUT unless your friend pays $9.95 a month to become a SuperMember, OR they refer 5 new members who validate their email addresses and complete a basic information questionnaire AND your friend validates his address, completes BOTH a basic and advanced profile AND uploads a valid picture of himself.
OR, your friend can hold onto those 500 points, NOT refer any friends, complete the basic profiler, and wait until he earns an additional 2000 points to cash out.
OR, your friend can hold onto those 500 points, send 10 email invitations to join (or get two friends of his own to join and validate their email and complete the basic profiler) AND validate his own email address, complete both the –
I don’t really need to go on, do I? You get the point: the email I was sent was misleading at best. Okay, fine, they at least got my attention and got me to visit their website. Once there, I started examining these different levels of membership. What makes them different, aside from the amount of personal information you have to share, and the number of friends you have to have? What do you get in exchange?
A lower minimum to cash out, earn points when your friends shop, higher priority in surveys (which I didn’t even know they had), more clicks of the SuperLucky Button (which if you’re “super lucky” might net you 5 points a day), win when your network wins via a search — up to 5 levels deep (does all of this “network” and “levels” stuff make anyone else uncomfortable?), and finally, the big one:

SuperMail: Opt-Out Available… but ONLY to people who pay $9.95 a month.

I sat there blinking at the screen, incredulous. You mean, I’m REQUIRED to provide all of this information to you, and you’re going to send me daily email UNLESS I PAY YOU TEN BUCKS A MONTH?
That’s got to be a mistake, I think. What does the Terms of Service say about this?
“Consent to Receive Commercial E-mail
BY AND AS A CONDITION OF BECOMING A MEMBER, YOU CONSENT TO RECEIVE COMMERCIAL E-MAIL MESSAGES FROM OR ON BEHALF OF WESTLAKE PRODUCTS, AND ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESSES AND OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION MAY BE USED BY WESTLAKE PRODUCTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF INITIATING COMMERCIAL E-MAIL MESSAGES. You may change the settings in the Member area section of the Website(s) to discontinue receipt of email, but by doing so your Membership will be terminated and all Points will be terminated.” [emphasis mine]
Bottom line: SuperPoints now requires all members to complete at least a basic-level profiler (including name, address, home phone number, cell number, and birthdate) that will be used to send you email advertisements, which you can NOT opt out of… UNLESS you pay them $9.95/month, or you forfeit your account. And don’t get any smart ideas about providing bogus information: they say they’ll terminate your account.
Why would you subject yourself to this when there are other websites on the internet that do the same things — let you earn points/prizes for searching the internet, earn rewards for shopping and completing surveys, win points for playing games — and that don’t REQUIRE you to pay ten bucks a month for the privilege of not being sent “commercial e-mail messages”? I know of no other program that operates like this.
There IS one other feature that your $9.95 a month buys you — the chance to win prizes. Paying money for a chance to win prizes = gambling, doesn’t it?
Based on this most recent experience with SuperPoints.com, I’m changing my recommendation for the SuperPoints Network — including its LuckySearch, RewardLadder, and RewardShopping sub-sites — to AVOID. I hope that their management reconsiders their new membership structure as well as their requirement to accept commercial emails if someone wants to be a member (or else pay the monthly fees)…and I’ll reconsider the site when and if that happens. Terribly disappointing.

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