SmartyCard Part2: I Like SmartyCard! Really, I Do…

SmartyCard Part2 If you read SmartyCard Part1, you know I like SmartyCard.

There are some things that could be better from a parent’s perspective, such as granular control of the reward catalog (so I can specify what is displayed). So, as to prevent my child purchasing something I find objectionable.

That said, I really like the SmartyCard concept… however, there was something about it that left me with that off balance, giving me that “roller-coaster speeding down hill” feeling. It took me a while to “plumb the depths of my own neuroses” to uncover the answer, but uncover it I did. I was rather surprised at the root cause of my discomfort. It was taint, that is to say, corruption by association.

I had let my growing disdain for Scholastic Books give me a uneasiness with SmartyCard, along with a bit of uncertainty about Gazillion (SmartyCard’s parent company) thown in for good measure.

SmartyCard had partnered with Scholastic Books in its “Summer Reading Challenge” to prevent summer slide. This was intended to be a “branding boost” for SmartyCard, but for me it had the opposite effect… I don’t like the turn toward the “commercial” that Scholastic Books has taken. They’re taking advantage of their reputation as a purveyor of educational books (with carte blanche access to classrooms), to expose our children to an increasing stream of toys and media tie-in products.

Beyond the schlock, this is where the angst starts for me… The SmartyCard – Scholastic partnership has the ability to kick open the door to Sponge Bob, Hanna Montana, and the like, “teaching” in our classrooms and computer labs. Some might think I’ve become unhinged, but I’m not the only parent that has a growing dissatisfaction with Scholastic… read these articles (“Teachers snub Scholastic toys“, “Scholastic misusing its book clubs?“, and “Does Scholastic Deserve a Failing Grade?“) a mere smattering of the total number.

To SmartyCard, “Don’t get tarred with a brush meant for someone else!”

The crew at SmartyCard is sharp, so I hope this “faux pas” was something attributable to the first steps of a new company, and is something that won’t be repeated.

My trepidation with Gazillion stems from what Gazillion is: An MMO gaming company. Gazillion it to SmartyCard as Disney is to NBC News… I get that. It has proven to take a company like Gazillion Entertainment to make something like SmartyCard work.

I believe that if SmartyCard is left alone, everything should be fine, but if Gazillion decides to leverage some of its deals (such as its 10 year deal with Marvel Entertainment, read Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America) I hear the sound of that classroom door being kicked open once again.

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