Why Blackboard Eats Now Charges

— by Caroline on Crack

Piggy bank by alancleaver_2000/flickr

Photo by alancleaver_2000/flickr

I admit it, I was really irritated when Blackboard Eats first made the announcement earlier this week that it was going to start charging $1 per passcode or $20 for an annual membership. That $1 amount is small/big enough to be annoying.

The one thing that made this deals service stand out from the bazillion Groupon-Living Social-Yelp-Zagat models out there is that it didn’t cost you a thing to partake of the deal. All you had to do was be a subscriber. No biggie. Click on the button to get the passcode and it would be emailed to you and stored.

Plus, they were able to offer discounts off your entire bill at foodie-fave restaurants like Petrossian, Mo-Chica and Valentino because they didn’t charge as they are editorial, not advertorial. The other services require you pay for the coupon. I’ve lost money on these in the past because I failed to use the coupon in time. Ferget that!

Of course, because it didn’t cost you anything to get the BBE code, chances of your using it weren’t that great; regardless of the email reminders telling you that the expiration date for your discount was nigh. You wouldn’t lose any money if you didn’t use it.

Turns out, this became a problem for those who would have used it if they could have grabbed hold of the limited number of passcodes. And yes, I’m guilty of being one of the many who let their passcodes expire. Sorry. Still have a couple in my queue that I’m debating using. *ducks*

So Blackboard Eats tried to think up a way to hold click-happy deal hunters accountable. Apparently the company thought about this for four months, testing and polling people. They considered charging the restaurants but realized it would be too difficult to keep track of everything. So they started capping specials as a way to encourage people to think before they clicked. Still didn’t work.

Kaelin Burns, operations manager of Blackboard Eats, said, “After weighing all of the options, we reasoned that one buck was a small price to pay for saving tons of money and a small price to lose if you don’t end up going (unlike the other upfront models).”

OK, I understand it a little better now but how do you feel about it? Good idea or bad idea?

BTW, I should say that BBE offered to comp my annual membership. I’m debating whether to accept it because it seems unfair. But at the same time, I want those codes, and I promise to use them from now on. I swear.