I believe that Priceline overpaid for OpenTable largely because the app was paying people like me to reserve tables. By paying people to reserve tables, it inflated their numbers. Priceline most likely had no clue that this was going on. they only saw the tables being reserved, which showed that the app was delivering on service, as promised.
Not many people know about Rewardables, so maybe it didn’t have that much of an impact in the deal. Its hard to know what is going on without being able to see the numbers though. But inflating numbers is a great way for apps to get better noticed by large companies.
Because all this app technology is so new and the established companies are working hard to either incorporate the new business, or dismantle, no one knows how effective the tech really is. For many major tech firms, like Apple, it is better to simple buy the other competition out.
The app developers know what is going on. They aren’t all hard working geniuses who built another great app. Many of them build a cheap app that performs nominally, but through enough promotion, they get noticed and hopefully get offers. Paying for good reviews and people to use your app is just icing on the cake for the negotiation tables.
As you can see in this pic, Rewardables recently pulled all of the app testing jobs except for the one with Expedia now. OpenTable achieved their objective and mission was accomplished. They pulled about 3 weeks after the deal was finalized.