progressive — social bargain hunting that works

This post continues my weekly series of website reviews. Next candidate probably gets disproportional amount of attention from my blog. In fact the very first post on ProBargainHunter was about this website. launched in July of 2006 and quickly became a popular destination for bargain hunters after showing up on the Digg front page. To further stimulate participation the owners ran a series of contests where you could win an iPod or a USB Flash Drive for submitting deals. In fact your humble servant got one of these drives as well after playing with deals submission for a while.

The website launched with the premise that the content is community driven — anyone can submit shopping deals to be featured on the website. As I mentioned before, communities like these need a critical user mass to survive, and is one of the few who are close to the point to become self supported (a couple of other sites worth mentioning are Dealigg and Modoshi).

Dealsplus Thumbnail

The website has a very clean layout. The front page displays most popular deals in a grid fashion. You can navigate through the categories using the menu to the right. This is all had when they just launched. The team gradually added features turning the website into a true social network. If you take a closer look at now you will notice that being a registered user now means you can do a number of other things in addition to submitting or voting for deals.

You can participate in discussion groups, you can invite friends / relatives and identify them as such in your profile, you can browse the B&M store Sunday ads in the circular section. When Black Friday shopping season was in full swing offered one of the most comprehensive Black Friday ads references, which brought even more attention to the site (see that second spike on the chart below).

Dealsplus Alexa

The team has re-launched daily contests — a sure sign they are serious about gaining the momentum. The site has been holding position #16 in my popular bargain sites list pretty steadily however if you recount the traffic generated by these websites in proportion to the actual user shopping activity, they might as well be in the top 10. This is due to the fact that other sites in the list have some sort of side business which brings them most of the visitors, a good example is ResellerRatings who I reviewed last week. success is partially due to the fact that it is backed by the experience of Ben Chui, the owner of BensBargains, who co-founded with one of his friends. Here is how he describes in his November interview what kick-started the idea:

I was approached by my former graduate student instructor about starting a new Web 2.0 AJAX site. He was entirely new to affiliate marketing and such, so I offered to help him break into the market. He’s a brilliant guy and he was able to get together in about two months! is more of an editorial type site, which definitely has its place in the scheme of things; but with the hotness of Web 2.0 and user driven content, we felt like we had a winning idea with So far, our projections have been spot on!

What can I say… well done, Ben. Give it some time and the child will overgrow its parent. ;-)

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