The Absolute Worst Organized Shopping Site EVER

October 26, 2006 · 0 comments

Freeride.com has to be the worst organized shopping site on the internet. Whoever is in charge of designing their shopping section SHOULD BE SUMMARILY DISMISSED. (You listening, Endai?)
How long have I been at this rewards program analysis stuff? I’ve been using rewards programs since ’97 — I think Freeride was probably the first site I joined — and I’ve been analyzing them on this site alone for 5 years. I’ve seen MANY programs come and go, and I gotta tell you, I’ve seen some stinkers pass through on their way to obscurity. But I have never seen a shopping section as absolutely screwed up as the current incarnation of Freeride’s.
Please allow me to expound on this.
The most basic requirement a proper rewards program should have, regarding its shopping area, is a master alphabetized list of merchants. A member should be able to see at a glance if his favorite merchant or merchants participate in the rewards program. Freeride doesn’t have this.
Okay, if a program can’t manage that, they should at least have an alphabetized list within each category of shopping. Freeride doesn’t have this, either. Take a look at their Baby & Maternity category, just for one example. It starts off with Snapfish, goes on to BabyGap, is relatively alphabetized until it hits Waltraud Hanl Dolls, then it starts back over with Etoys. Then after Old Navy is Baby Universe. It is completely messed up.
So, barring either of those two REAL requirements for a shopping section, a rewards program at least needs to have a good search box, where you can find out if a merchant participates by typing in its name. Guess what? Freeride’s search box doesn’t always work, either. Type in “mothernature.com” and you’ll get “We could not find a match for mothernature.com.” But delve into the Health & Beauty category, and there it is! Same thing with TimeLife: it doesn’t show up in a search for “time” or “timelife” or “timelife.com” — but go to the DVD, Music, & Video category, and there it is! How about FTD? Same thing. You can only find it by going to the Flowers category. Oh, and when you do find it there, it says, “Now, thru May 14th ONLY, earn 7,500 Tokens with your order!” Um, May 14 of WHAT YEAR exactly?
But don’t fall prey to the assumption that you can get a thorough (if not alphabetized) merchant list by going to each shopping category at Freeride… because for whatever reason, you won’t find Petsmart in the Pet category, Sports Authority in the Sports category, or Office Depot in the Office category!
Lookit, Freeride: Invest some money in a REAL programming team. You can’t run a rewards program like this. Absolute chaos in your shopping section, rewards delayed for MONTHS because of “technical glitches,” poor to NO response to customer service inquiries… Do you even have a member service phone number? Hell, even Memolink has one of those!
Get it together, or ride on outta Cyberspace. There are too many other rewards programs to choose from for people to deal with this kind of aggravation.

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