July 2008
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Wannabe bank in greed shocker

Neteller just got really greedy, and not at all in a smart way.

Their promotion during April and May was awesome.  I ended up churning about $36,000 through various poker sites and had a $507.90 adjustment credited to my account as promised.  By my reckoning, it should have been $516.15, but I’m not going to argue over that.  Besides, hard as it is to believe, I do sometimes get things wrong.

The same kind of deal is back this month.  Here’s a snippet from the email I got:

Twenty two thousand, three hundred and twenty dollars.  That’s my target.  The amount I need to transfer to merchants in a four week period in order to get any cashback this time. 

Then if I do manage to reach the target, the cashback rate is only 0.5%.  It was 1.5% last time.

And just in case I manage to get really busy, there’s a $500 limit on the bonus.  Although, with these rules I would need to transfer $100,000 in total to max it out – that’s more than three grand a day.

I can appreciate the idea of wanting a promotion that gets customers to use Neteller more than they usually would, but this one just wreaks of greed and comtempt for their customers, as well as their merchants.

I have two major problems with this.

Firstly, the drop in cash back rate by two thirds is taking the piss.  If they could do 1.5% last time, they can do it this time.  We all know that this money doesn’t come out of Neteller’s pocket – they charge a fee to the gaming sites they’re encouraging us to abuse.  This is simply an exercise in seeing what they can get away with; seeing just how little of that extra revenue they need to pay out to keep it coming.

Last time they gave back about 25% of the fees they collected.  Now it’s about 8%.

Secondly, it absolutely penalises loyalty.  By loyalty, of course, I actually mean willingness to assist Neteller in fucking over their merchants for a kickback.  But let’s be honest, that’s a cause I’m prepared to be extremely loyal to.

I made Neteller a lot of money in the last promotion – a lot for one customer, anyway, and more in one six week period than they’ve made from my account in the previous six years.  How do they thank me?  By imposing an all-or-nothing condition on the next promotion that makes sure I have to work at least as hard as last time, otherwise I lose everything.  No slacking now.

It’s pretty clear that my target is the amount I transferred during the last promo, scaled down to the slightly shorter timeframe.  I don’t get any cashback until I exceed $22,300 in transfers which means Neteller can make up to $860 without giving me a penny if I fall short.  If I do make the target, I get $5 per $1000 transferred while they get the other $34.

This makes no sense.  If they offered me a good deal, I’d be making them money every day!  It’s a win-win situation!

Dozens of online poker sites which are prohibited from offering rakeback find ways around this by calling it another name and then inviting their high volume players to join the scheme and saying "Ssshhhh".  They go to whatever lengths they have to to offer the cash incentive because they know that 70% of all that player’s revenue is better than 100% of none of it.

It’s a bit different with Neteller, because there’s no game that you can play more frequently or at higher stakes.  They essentially want you to conjure transactions out of thin area to generate these bonus payments.  Day-to-day you would usually have no reason to move money from one place to another, so you have to look for excuses to make deposits.    It’s not like you can Neteller for your everyday shopping instead of cash or a credit card.

So surely 75% of a transaction that just wouldn’t otherwise exist any more is better than nothing?

I have obviously let my feelings be known to the Neteller VIP Club, of which I am a member despite not actually having the first idea what its benefits are.

This is a ridiculous target.

I did fairly well from the last promotion and Neteller must have made a bunch of money from me.  My payout was over $500, so Neteller must have made about $1500 that they wouldn’t otherwise have had because of my increased activity!

I’d find ways to inflate my usage every month if you always ran this offer, and we’d both be happy.

So why punish me now for having made you money in the past?  It’s dumb and insulting.

Sure, it’s a bit on the stroppy side, but if they want me to keep generating free money for them, I’ve let it be known that I’m open for business.

You can expect an update if/when they reply.

EDIT – the response:

I hope you know that the email that was sent wasn’t our intention to insult you. I sincerely apologize if it made you feel that way though. The reason why this offer has a lower cashback value is because this offer is for all of our NETELLER members. The cashback value was higher before since the last offer was exclusively only for our VIP members.

Again, I apologize for the way this offer was rolled out to you in the email. It is not necessary to participate in this offer if you feel against it.

Indeed everyone is invited.  Claire’s target is an easily achievable $1840 and my mum’s is the minimum $1000.

Glad it’s not necessary to participate though.  I would hate to have to accept some free money if I didn’t agree with it.