Though I really would enjoy the second shot promo being permanent, I feel it would be somewhat detrimental to the value of the certification.
First of all, if you go into an exam knowing you have a free retake, you may be inclined to blow off the first attempt so you can see what the exam format is like, what types of questions they're asking, what you are having the most trouble with, etc. I mean, realistically, if I had a free second shot that's what would be on my mind. You would feel much more relaxed because you would know you had another shot if you did fail.
If you've got to pay for your second chance after failing the first, you're going to study a hell of a lot harder both times because it's your money.
I didn't feel like the exams were overpriced, honestly. I mean, a single Catalyst 2950 is as much as one of the exams and the practice tests actually cost more than the exam.
Not trying to argue. Just my 2 cents.