Similar ideas have come up in discussion here a few times. Two of the cooler suggestions mentioned in some of those exchanges, the crate-as-story and journal-as-story, both make an appearance in the Whenabouts concept. That had me really jazzed about the project, but as I read on some of my initial enthusiasm started to wane.
In many ways Whenabouts is just a high-touch ARG, differentiated from the dozens of current online games solely by the heavy use of postal contact. From that perspective it's not all that exciting, particularly at such a high buy-in price. I like the idea of an exploratory experience that relies on props as the primary storytelling channel. Getting a mysterious VHS tape in the mail is cool! Receiving a "virtual" VHS tape that consists of a code that lets me unlock a VCR mini-game on a website? Meh.
Admittedly, that's not an altogether fair criticism on my part. It's rather like being upset because they cooked up a chocolate cake when I wanted vanilla pudding. This is a game marketed at teens, and I'm sure they would view having a heavy online component as a feature, not a bug. Then again, it strikes me that the kind of teenager that would be into a game like this would love the idea of having to dig up a real VCR for that obsolete tape.