Dealnews — bargain hunting built on trust

This post continues my weekly series of bargain site reviews. Last time I reviewed DealsPlus, a popular social bargain hunting site.

Dealnews is number 4 in my list of bargain sites however they might well be the number one if you took away the forums that bring most of the traffic to Slickdeals and Fatwallet, and PC hardware reviews that keep Anandtech in the third position.

It all started with catering to Apple Mac fans

Daniel de Grandpre and Richard Moss, two school buddies, started the business in 1997, and named it (the logo below is courtesy of WaybackMachine). I can imagine what running an online business was like in 1997. I launched my first project in 1996 and competition was scarce, if any at all.


Presently the company employs 15 people and uses proxy software, load balancers, and dedicated image servers to feed the hungry bargain hunters who consume the deals at an average rate of 80 page requests per second during busy holiday shopping time.

One domain to rule them all

As the owners gradually realized Macintosh was not the only kind of computer, they launched Dealnews which was supposed to serve what didn’t seat well with Mac fans at Dealmac. Later more domains were added and as of today Dealnews serves as an umbrella for six more sites:

  • dealcam is a search engine for digital cameras and camcorders. Just one comment, where are the hard drive based camcorders? They have been around for a few years now…
  • dealram is a computer memory (RAM) search engine. I have always used the Memory Pricing Guide by SharkyExtreme before, but I will sure give dealram a try next time I upgrade memory on my PC
  • dealink is a printer ink search engine. It looks very nice however I wish laser printers were included. I switched to laser a while ago and I am glad I did. Ink related expenses can be a drag
  • her.dealnews has relatively few gadgets, mostly stuff that girls will fancy. A very smart marketing move by the team. Women spend more time shopping online as internet becomes more human friendly
  • dealcoupon is a directory of coupons and discounts. It doesn’t seem to be as complete as that of FatWallet. Coupons is clearly not Dealnews speciality.
  • dealmac has almost the same deals as dealnews but offers some emphasis on Apple related products.

These sections each used to have their own domain name but dealcam, dealram, dealink, and dealcoupons now branch off of Dealnews while her.dealnews is a sub-domain. This is clearly an attempt to optimize these sites for search results.

Dealmac is the only site that has not been incorporated into Dealnews. This is probably due to the enormous number of back-links it collected since 1998. In my opinion Dealmac adds little value as a separate website, many deals are the same as at Dealnews.

Dealnews editorial guarantee

Dealnews has gathered a huge following over the 10 years it has been in business. Some of my older friends have not even heard of other bargain sites. Most likely they don’t care since Dealnews does a great job of supplying a fresh set of hot shopping deals every day. Besides, trust is a very good foundation for a successful online service. This is taken from the Dealnews about page:

Every deal we list is the lowest price we could find for that product, sold by a reputable store.

Almost sounds like Dealnews will price match any of the deals they list. ;-) In life it comes to these three simple things (from the same page):

We never list a higher price from another store just because it is an advertiser.
We ban any store that we find has a history of poor customer service.
We list the best deals period, regardless of our relationship with the seller.

These are very good principles that I wish every bargain site promoted and incorporated. Many online shoppers take #1 and #3 for granted, while #2 is a good addition (making a trip to ResellerRatings unnecessary). You don’t want to disappoint your clients, do you?

Have you ever been Yahooed?

Here are some fun facts from the life of Dealnews. Many bloggers know what it means to be Dugg or Slashdotted. It happens when your blog gets to the front page of aforementioned news sites and usually results into a huge influx of new visitors and a stress to the web-server.

Brian Moon, a programmer and system administrator at Dealnews, runs a personal blog where he recently went over describing what it means to be front-paged by Yahoo!

Digg? Slashdot? They can bring traffic for sure. We have been on both several times. But wow, just getting in the third paragraph of an article that is one page deep from the Yahoo! front page can bring you to your knees if you are not ready.

During the 3 hour spike Dealnews was surviving 400 req/s for the pages and 1500 req/s for images. Wow!

See also:

1 Response to “Dealnews — bargain hunting built on trust”

  1. 1 Mike G. Mar 19th, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    It’s nice to hear a deal site can survive for 10 years!

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