A few days ago I posted about TripAlertz offering existing members a $10 bonus for each new sign-up. All that was required was a valid email address, and not even a purchase or anything else. I wasn’t sold on the concept of the website which is basically that it’s a Groupon of travel, given that I think Groupon works because it’s “local.” A savings of $55 on a hotel in Aruba when I have to book an expensive ticket to get there isn’t all that tempting. Still, for $10 per referred member it was well worth it and I figured most of us could find some use of the credit that would be worthwhile.
This was of course ridiculously generous, and I was curious how they’d try to “recover” from this, since obviously this was going to cost them a lot of money. I’m sure they intended for people to maybe refer two or three friends, which basically translates to a $20-30 discount on a vacation package. I think they forgot this is 2011 and there is Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc., where we all have tons of (virtual) “friends.”
Anyway, not surprisingly they lowered the bonus from $10 to $1, which seems much more reasonable, but retroactively changed the expiration date of the credit from two years to one year.
I just don’t get it. You’d think these start ups would have someone on their team that knows a thing or two about social/viral media, and would advise against something like this. But then again, the same thing has happened to much larger travel providers, so I can’t say I’m surprised.
I’m almost kind of expecting they’ll only have crappy deals for the next year until our credits expire, though I guess we’ll see!