Of all the smartphone apps I use on a regular basis to save money, Shopmium has by far been the redheaded stepchild of the group. They never seemed to have any good deals with their one positive being that the first time you used the app and used the referral code GMKACYRC, you got a FREE Lindt candy bar. Nothing motivates like FREE chocolate.
When it was announced last year that Shopmium was going to be acquired by Quotient, which is the same company that runs Coupons.com, I thought that maybe they could get the Shopmium act together and actually include deals worth getting.
It looked for a few weeks like that was exactly what was going to happen but then the wheels fell off. Shopmium announced that they were no longer going to allow you to get a rebate if you used a coupon for the same item you were trying to get to get a rebate on. So with stacking out and the number of deals low, why even bother?
However, there was a loophole because there were stores that made it difficult to see any used coupons on their receipts. Shopmium announced today that those stores with those hard to read coupons can no longer be used with Shopmium. These stores include Kroger Company (Kroger, Harris Teeter, Ralphs, King Soopers, Fry’s, Fred Meyer), CVS/ Pharmacy, Publix, Meijer, Baker’s Supermarkets, City Market, Copp’s, Dillons Food Stores, Dillons Marketplace, Fry’s Food & Drug, Foods Co., Food 4 Less, Fresh Market, Gerbes Super Markets, GreenWise, Jay C, Kwik Shop, Loaf ‘N Jug, Mariano’s, Metro Market, Owen’s, Pay Less Super Markets, Pick ‘n Save, Publix Sabor, QFC, Roundy’s, Ruler Foods, Scott’s, Smith’s, Smith’s Marketplace, Smith’s Express, Tom Thumb Food Stores, Turkey Hill Minit Markets.
When you take out all Kroger affiliates, CVS, and Publix, you are shutting yourself off from a heckuva lotta stores and potential users! And why? To avoid giving an extra $2 back on one of your 29 currently available rebates? Is that a tradeoff that will be good for your business long-term? I don’t think it will be.
And while I’ve got your attention, let me share one of my frustrations with the app as a blogger. The way we as bloggers make money when we recommend any other of the smartphone rebate apps available is when you guys click on our affiliate link and actually use the app, we get a little something. Anywhere from $2 to $10 the first time the app is used so no one is taking vacations to Tahiti on that big app money but it’s something. Shopmium does it an entirely different way.
With Shopmium, I get a $2 credit applied to my account if one of you guys use the aforementioned referral code GMKACYRC to use the app and get your FREE candy bar. They only way I can access that referral credit is to buy one f the products listed in the app. So lets say I buy a Sara Lee poundcake for $4 and there is a $1 Shopmium rebate. Once I upload the receipt, I would get the $1 rebate but then I would get an additional $3 back paid out of any available referral credit. The problem here is that between my wife and I, we have accumulated over $1000 in referral credit from our 2 blogs and no one wants to buy $1000 in Sara Lee poundcake to get our money out. And even if we did do that, we wouldn’t have made anything because we would have bought $1000 in poundcake.
Someone in the Quotient/Shopmium business setup has decided that bloggers are the enemy and should not be rewarded for their work. I have seen other businesses decide that same thing and create business models antagonistic to bloggers and choose to go out of their way to not reward them for their work. In every one of those instances, those businesses went away. (Anyone remember Snap by Groupon?)
I’m sure Quotient has the capital to keep Shopmium alive but why tick off people who are willing to give you cheap advertising? Instead of deciding we are the enemy, why don’t you put down the stick and use a few carrots and partner with bloggers who can help. Step one? Throw away that stupid referral program and use the same one that every other app on the market uses.