Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another Fine Mess

Once a person reaches a certain age - it varies from person to person, but it's usually somewhere in the 40's - he or she begins to realize there are certain constants, things that happen on a regular basis. These constants can be expected, the same way one expects the change of seasons. Other examples include:

- the late-season collapse of [insert your favorite hard-luck team's name here] - for me it's the Buffalo Sabres. You likely have your own choice;

- the unavailability of the outfit you want/need to wear to an event - never fails. And, of course,

- Entrecard shooting itself in the foot - as certain as death and taxes. You know, I don't really enjoy being critical about EC. But its moves are usually ham-handed at best, and downright idiotic at worst. Take the latest announcement from Graham & Co.: offering, for those unable [or unwilling] to visit sites and acquire EC credits "the hard way" [Heaven forbid someone actually have to read a post once in a while!], the option of gathering credits by either purchase or "completing offers" [The purchase option doesn't bother me; if people want to buy EC credits to advertise, well and good. They know what they're buying, and what they're spending]. But "completing offers"? Sounds like the scam certain "apps" on Facebook [and other social sites that offer games] run. Here's how it works: the ad for the credits [or points or whatever] tells you the offer is free, if you do what they tell you to. In practice, this involves you being forced to sign up for one or more "programs" offered by businesses. At best, you'll end up with scads of spam, trying to sell you something [now do you see why people have more than one e-mail address?]; at worst, you're stuck trying to meet a series of conditions that can cost many times more than the value of the item you're getting for free.

Why would a networking site do it? Well, if Entrecard is like most sites that do, they get money for each person who gets involved in the process, as well as their cut of credits actually sold. A percentage of the money made on each person in the process also goes to whomever put the offers together. In the case of EC, they are working with a company called Gambit. Since I kept getting "error" message when I tried to use the link provided to the new service [note to EC: the whips aren't working. Have you considered kindness? It works wonders...], I cut straight to the "middleman"; Gambit. If you're interested, click on the "take the tour" option on the front page. Based on the the sites they note working with, and the "example" of their system, it's likely you've seen this before [I must play the right games on Facebook; almost all of them have a set-up like this, presumably created by Gambit]. I have no reason to believe that Gambit is an inherently dishonest company. But I am a bit troubled by the fact that social networking sites [FB, EC, etc], especially since both Facebook and Entrecard have a large number of pre-adult members, would do business with a service which offers a program built around questionable ethics.

As I said earlier, I don't object to Entrecard selling its credits. I do have serious doubts about the program offered through EC by Gambit. I'd like to think that Entrecard management may have doubts, also. Are desperate times leading to desperate measures?

-Mike Riley


patrick said...

Could be. Could also be that people are willing to take it in exchange for the services being provided. This may not count for all sites, but recall that Facebook had to redo it's Terms & conditions because of a user uproar.

I don't mind visiting a few blogs like yours to get a trickle of EC credits. Good reading!

Mike Riley said...


To be fair, EC also rolled back the more disliked parts of their ad sale rules after mucho complaints. Perhaps they'll be willing to do so again, if it's not just me and a couple of other grumpuses griping.

Thanx for reading. For what it's worth, I enjoy your take on TO life [living in Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY ("We're not merged...yet!"), it's good to see an honest take on the sorts of things Your City does for You - no matter who's paying for it, or how bonkers it is. Makes our local pols look a tiny bit better.