Boomertowne GCs Backlogged

July 30, 2008 · 0 comments

Update, 9/22: BoomerTowne.com is down permanently. Read the email from founder Herschel Peddicord here.
Boomertowne.com members have been contacting me, asking for information on the growing wait times for gift card redemptions. This is something that’s concerned me as well: my first redemption, on 4/25, shipped 4 weeks later…but my second cashout, ten days after the first, took 7-and-a-half weeks! My next redemption was made over 11 weeks ago and is still not showing as being shipped. :(
A week ago, I sent an email to BTVoice, the program’s owner, as well as an email to support. I told them I was in the process of writing an article on the delayed gift cards, and I said that I felt most people would be understanding of the delay if it was just explained. The lack of communication from management was really worrying the membership. I asked BT to please reply with some kind of reassurance for their members. They did not respond.
From the messages I’ve gotten from members, as well as from what I’ve read on BT’s discussion board and chat rooms, the last GCs sent out were requested on May 8th. I think it’s no coincidence that this is about the same date when the points were credited for the April referral bonus promotion. I saw my referral bonus show up in my account on 5/9 and promptly cashed out. Obviously, I’m still waiting for my GCs.
It’s purely conjecture on my part, but I think the referral bonuses for April exceeded their expectations. Combine this with the TV advertising at around the same time, and I can see where there would be both a financial and a staffing hangup.
On 5/19, about ten days after the referral points were credited, BTVoice announced that GCs were going to be delayed but would go out within a 6 to 8 week timeframe. He blamed this on the TV commercials creating a need for more staff.
Then on 5/28, BTVoice made his announcement that starting on 6/1, new members would need twice the points to cash out.
This happens ALL THE TIME with points programs: they start out with unbelievable, unsustainable earnings as a promotional gimmick, then when the membership reaches a certain tipping point, the owners scale back by either increasing the number of points to cash out or by decreasing the number of points you can earn. I thought it was very fair of BT to “grandfather in” existing members so they wouldn’t need double the points for redemptions. Sometimes, though, being fair is too costly. That’s the concern that I have with BoomerTowne at this point.
With a promise of 6 to 8 weeks, now going on 12 weeks, for redemptions…what’s BoomerTowne management telling members? Little to nothing. Some forum posts about the GC delays have been deleted without explanation. Chat moderators say they’re as in the dark as we are (bless Cherbear’s heart, she’s handled the flurry of inquiries with infinite patience and politeness). Those who have (unlike me) received an email response from support, were told the following: “Your rewards have not shipped yet. We are shipping based on work flow and cannot provide an exact ship date for your order. Once your rewards ship, you will recieve an email notification accordingly. Your inquiry and patience is appreciated.”
At this point, I think it’s wise that BoomerTowne members give serious consideration to the amount of time they’re spending on the site, and don’t spend time there that you don’t mind going unpaid. BTVoice has said repeatedly that the site was intended for social networking, with points/rewards being a nice little side bonus. If the points become too costly, don’t be surprised if they’re phased out. In fact, it’s been rumored that some kind of announcement regarding BT and/or BT Points is coming out soon.
I hope that the site gets its financial affairs in order. Until then, I can’t in good conscience recommend BoomerTowne as a points program to new members. I do think it’s still a nice site for pure social networking, but as far as receiving rewards for activity there — my feeling is that big changes are ahead, and they may be disappointing.

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