Thursday, September 08, 2005

SmileCity New Zealand (NZ) - The virtual online city where you can have lots of fun and earn rewards!

SmileCity New Zealand (NZ) - The virtual online city where you can have lots of fun and earn rewards!
I've been visiting SmileCity for a couple of years now, some time early after is started a friend sent me a referral email so I decided to join. Mostly its a loyalty program, but for online shopping. I know I carry around a lot of cards in my wallet for loyalty programs, I have my fly buys card my real groovy card and at least two coffee cards. The concept of getting 'rewards' for doing what you would do anyway is compelling, even if you never go back to a coffee shop you might carry around the card for a long time, well at least I know I do, I have subway cards but haven't had subway in almost a year! So SmileCity is not really a new idea and like many schemes doesn't really award you much, for most 'reward partners' you receive 1 point per $1, one point working out at around 1c. However you can get 5 free points a day, if you visit the site, which will bring users back daily just to claim 5c. Like most schemes I think it's only really worth it if you are already using the places you can gain rewards from.
SmileCity though is more than an online rewards program, it is a 'virtual online city'. Of course there are forums and chat rooms and things, but I find these to be mostly a poor quality of forum, the layout isn't terribly inviting and whenever I've had a look around the conversation seems rather dull or purposefully controversial. I've visited many far more interesting communities on the internet and often communities are more interesting when focused on a topic than just been a general discussion forum. I've found most forums attached to New Zealand sites (such as the forums) to be rather uninteresting, conversations are too varied and layouts are never as easy to navigate as other forums.
Although I've found SmileCity to be a rather dull city the concept of an 'online city' is interesting, to have a whole range of goods, services and social interactions on one website. Also the creation of an online loyalty program reflects on the ways we are shopping now, often using the internet to find a bargain or to simply save time going to the shops. As more people do more shopping online it seems logical that those loyalty cards are been replaced by a website, but I can't help that feel smilecity is going to be like one of those cards I never really use, especially as sites I shop from seem to disappear as rewards partners.
And of course like many schemes you get points for referring people into the cult *cough* I mean reward program so help me out there's something addictive about collecting those points.
Even if Smilecity tries to be a community it fails miserably but as another card stuffed into your wallet it really excels.


At 2:01 AM, Blogger Spivey said...

Such a shameless plug! I love it. Its dirty yet refined for profit. God you gotta love those online companies, they never stop getting more and more creative do they?


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