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I’ve just figured out, via a Paypal email notification, that Valleyschwag has pulled the plug on its subscription model.
Valleyschwag was fun. The model was simple: subscribers paid about $20 a month to receive a regular package filled up with freebies from web companies. The package always included a t-shirt, so it seemed worth it.
In recent months it looked like trouble was brewing. Delays started to happen, so the company couldn’t keep its promise of one package per month and started to refund subscribers.
Today, I received the following email from Paypal:
“Your subscription to Valleyschwag care package – subscription has been cancelled by Rubyred Labs. You will not be invoiced for this Subscription again”.
Game over, it seems.
I thought Valleyschwag had decided to fold completely, based on the Paypal email, but no, the ‘Valleywag General Store’ will launch later this week, allowing people to purchase individual items or “future issues of our famous schwag bags”.
Most user comments on the blog seem to lament the passing of a ‘fun’ subscription model:
“The idea was fun while it lasted, and you’ve pretty much killed the fun and the point.”
“In marketing speak, you’ve just given up your USP! That seems like a crazy, albeit bold, decision to make.”
“I am sure the decision wasn’t easy to make, but it’s still short and cold. It stings.”
The element of surprise has vanished, and it turns out that a lot of people – including me – rather liked that aspect of the business model. I don’t think I’d pay for promotional products (aka 'freebies') on an individual basis.