By Richard Raimondi
While the rising cost of college reduces student’s budgets, a new online coupon company, BarkBack, helps University of California Santa Barbara students to still affordably enjoy the local restaurants, shops and businesses.
BarkBack, run by two UCSB alumni and assisted by members of the SB Media Group, provides more than just your average coupon experience however. In exchange for some brief feedback, students are provided with discounts to some of their favorite places, or even ones that they have never ventured to, in Isla Vista, Goleta and Santa Barbara.
After quickly setting up an account, Barkback.com, compatible with smart phones and tablets, presents a list of the businesses that provide discounts through the website. From there students can receive a discount either for their first visit or for answering a survey about a familiar venue. For first time visits, BarkBack provides discounts of 50 to 100 percent off. After using the first visit coupon, patrons are prompted to fill out a short survey on their experience, and then receive a discount upon their next visit.
The survey consists of standard questions such as “How did you hear about us?” and “Would you refer a friend” as well as questions that give students a fun opportunity to provide honest and creative feedback, such as “If you were the boss for a day, what would you change about the restaurant?”
After each survey is completed, the website keeps track of this and records the coupons earned from the surveys so they can be used at the students’ leisure.
Barkback.com currently provides coupons to over 40 businesses in the Isla Vista, Goleta and Santa Barbara area. Those that use BarkBack can enjoy a cup of coffee in Isla Vista in the morning, an exercise class in Santa Barbara after school and finish with dinner and a trip to a bookstore in Goleta for a more affordable price. However, do not expect to be able to take all of your friends out for a feast. Discounts are geared toward single customer purchases, which often include specific dollar amounts at which the coupon maxes out. Half-off coupons often max out at lower dollar amounts so a large purchase would not fully receive the discount.
With all the places that are a part of BarkBack it can at first be a little overwhelming to choose where to go. However if it is your first visit, the website provides a brief description of the business, some of its favorites and specialties and also its hours of operation. BarkBack also provides the restaurant’s number, address and even a link to its location on a map. If you are looking for a new place to go, BarkBack can point you in the direction.