I have been sizing up a Backwoods Smoker and barkless bbq is a concern I also have. Probably not enough to put me off buying one but enough that I've google'd for images and such.
I'm pretty sure it's a technique issue. With the amount of competitions won by BWS I just can't believe there isn't a way to get some great bark. Sand (and trial and error, of course) seems to be the ticket.
Have a look here:
The gent in the video uses sand exclusively on his Backwoods. He talks about it in the comments. Hope posting the link in a forum is ok.
I like to think about bark the way I think about beer; if my pint doesn't have a head on it I'll still drink it, it's not 100% right (for me) but I'll still get it down my neck. Same with bark and bbq.