Adding a full blown network is a logical step for RetailMeNot who already largely rely on community to submit and rank coupons. The new functionality allows registered users to make friends, share coupons/deals, showcase profiles, and blog about… that is right, shopping.
Any social network is only good if there is a community to support it, and this is what will eventually be the breaking point. Nevertheless, the site is certainly a leader in such a narrow niche as coupon clipping (currently ranking 2nd) and so I would say the network has a good chance for success.
Here are some interesting traffic and financial stats from the RetailMeNot launch announcement at TechCrunch:
RetailMeNot is pushing through some amazing figures for a bootstrapped (non-funded) startup with three employees. The site averages $4 million a month in sales that are accurately recorded through affiliate channels, with only 40% of codes on the site having a direct benefit for RetailMeNot. Estimated total sales through the site are $10 million a month or approx $100 million a year. 600,000 non-affiliate clickthrus were recorded in February 2007 and 440,000 affiliate clickthrus. The site offers 71,000 coupons from 13,000 merchants and is adding 200-300 new coupons a day, 300-400 new comments per day and 9000 votes per day. Traffic and revenue grew at 20% per month through 2007. King wouldn’t tell me how much the site was making, but told me that it was profitable in seven figures.
As you can see running a popular coupon site can be a very profitable business. It is unfortunate none of that goes back to the users who help build it, and I am not talking about ad revenue profit sharing on user forums. Show us the real money! ;-)