Boomertowne Newsletter Omits Mention of Points

August 13, 2008 · 0 comments

Update, 9/22: is down for good. Read the email from site founder Herschel Peddicord here.
Update 8/20: Again this week, no mention of points in Boomertowne’s newsletter.
A sign of what’s to come? I would certainly think so.
Two weeks ago, I posted about the growing backlog of GCs at Boomertowne. Nothing appears to have changed since then — my 5/9 redemption is still listed as “pending” despite the fact the site says that “BoomerTowne Points orders may take 6-8 weeks for delivery based on availability.” It has now been a month and a half since BTVoice, the site’s owner, has posted on the site.
I noticed something quite conspicuously absent from yesterday’s Boomertowne Community News email: any mention of “points.”
Going back a few emails, all of the BT Community News mails I saved had at least some mention of points:
8/5: “…submit your video to the BoomerVision Videos Contest, and you may just win some bonus BoomerTowne Points.”
7/29: “…starting August 1st, submit your photos and videos for the August contests. Your entry may just earn you some bonus BoomerTowne Points.”
“…To be eligible for the Gold/Platinum Citizen drawing, all you need to do is earn BoomerTowne Points.”
“Learn more about becoming a Gold/Platinum Citizen | Login and start earning points.”
7/8: “If your video is voted as one of the top three winning videos for July, you’ll earn bonus BT points.”
I didn’t save any newsletters between 7/8 and 5/27, but points discussion was all throughout the 5/27 newsletter (that’s when they announced that new members after 6/1 would have to pay double the points for redemptions).
Out of curiosity, I logged out of BT then visited its home page to see how it would look to non-members. There’s no mention of points there, either (except for the menu option to go to BT Points).
You don’t have to be a genius to see what’s coming. The only question is how BoomerTowne will go about phasing out their points and to what extent they will honor redemptions in progress. I don’t know if BTVoice or his employees visit here, but if they do, I’d like to give them some advice:
Don’t pull a NetWinner.
Don’t take the easy route out and say, “We don’t do GCs anymore and too bad if you’ve been waiting on one.” That may seem like an “easy” way out, but you will pay such a high price in lost goodwill, in terribly negative PR, that you will wish you had just paid what you owed. People will understand if points have to be phased out. Businesses do promotional gimmicks to get people in the door, then pull them when they get popular and no longer need the gimmick, or when they can’t afford to continue it. That’s business; we get it. Some people will complain. Those are the ones who weren’t at BT for the content. You didn’t need them anyway. The others will applaud you for “doing the right thing,” and for being honest and openly communicating the decision and the reasons why.
You have an incredible opportunity here to take advantage of the lessons NW taught us on how NOT to handle this. Handle it differently.
You did good by scaling back (or stopping) the promoting of the points aspect of the site. Now you need to go all the way and ditch them altogether. It’s irresponsible to continue allowing members to earn points when you’re in doubt about when (or if) their redemptions can be sent.
Go ahead and make the announcement. Be prepared for the initial firestorm caused by the shock and disappointment. But honor the points in the pipe now. Earn bonus goodwill by allowing members who are THISCLOSE to redemption to get SOMETHING for their points, if not going ahead and bumping up to the cashout.
What you’ll lose in money and in “fair-weather friends” type members, you’ll regain exponentially in loyalty and respect from those who feel you communicated honestly and treated them fairly. If I can help or advise further, email me. I’ll even waive my consulting fees. Your decisions will impact a lot of people and I’d be happy to help however I can.

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