Archive for the 'Business: Strategy' Category

How big is WhaleShark’s share of coupon business?

Things can get pretty crazy for you during holiday shopping season if you happen to run a popular deal site. I can tell this from my own experience. As I got tied up in the daily routine I completely missed this important bit of news. On December 2, 2010 Techcrunch spilled the beans - come the new year the folks at WhaleShark Media have one more property to worry about (in addition to 4 more they acquired last September).

So, let’s do the count. RetailMeNot, Deals2Buy, Coupon7, Cheapstingybargains and are all under one roof. Just how big this piece of pie is? Pingdom, an up-time monitoring service I use for my sites, once ran a very interesting analysis. They took traffic estimates released by Google for top 1000 websites and drew some pretty amazing conclusions.
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WhaleShark Media buys several deal sites

whaleshark-mediaThis can hardly be considered news since Techcrunch and a few other media outlets reported on it two months ago, yet I feel I am obliged to add my own opinion since this story affected me personally and in a big way. My long time readers sure know that rounding up deal sites every month is not the only thing I do in life as one would think by looking at the recent articles on this blog. So here is the gist of it.

In late 2007 I launched my latest project with Mike Glozman of CheapStingyBargains and things went fine for some time. 2010 however marked an important event, one I couldn’t tell you about earlier but now I can. My partner chose to quit Buxr leaving me as the sole owner and the main reason for doing so is in that Techcrunch’s report. WhaleShark bought Mike’s business and part of the agreement was that he would not run any other deal site. This obviously meant I had to pick up the tab and continue alone.
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Amazon buys Woot

In a joke-laden message on the company blog, Woot CEO Matt Rutledge announced today that the company is being acquired by Amazon which has been a minority investor in his company since 2006. The announcement is short of brilliant, I truly had a good laugh after reading the last chapter:

This is definitely an emotional day for me. The feelings Im experiencing are similar to what I felt in college on graduation day: excitement about getting a check from my folks combined with nausea from a hellacious bender the night before. I remember fondly that time when an RA turned on the lights and yelled WHO OWNS THESE PANTS? Except this time, the pants are a company, and the RA is you, and the sixty five hours of community service is a deal that will ensure the experience can continue to grow for years and years and years, like a black mold behind the Gold Box. Join us, because together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Also, there will be six muffins waiting in the company break room, courtesy of the nice folks at Welcome to the family!

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DealsPlus launches Money Makers Program

MM_introI should have gotten more suspicious when last month a member with email account hosted at domain registered at Buxr and started submitting deals and participating in Buxr’s daily life as a normal member would. This was most likely a DealsPlus employee checking out the website but at that time I didn’t care. I even allowed them to win a prize when one of the deals they submitted suddenly got popular with Buxr community! :-)

That competitor’s spying as it turns out wasn’t a coincidence. My friend emailed me last week with this link. The third popular deal site (by Alexa) has just launched Money Makers which is a cash incentive program for deal submitters, something Buxr has offered to its members for 2 years now. Unlike Buxr however, the team at DealsPlus decided not to re-invent the bicycle and went with the well established approach that blog networks like Gawker and Weblogs use to pay their writers.
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Microsoft to shut down Bing Cashback

Microsoft has just announced on their blog that they will be closing their popular rewards program, Bing Cashback. It is a dark day for all the bargain hunters in the US and a celebration for all the smaller rival businesses.

The explanation given is that the revenue Microsoft was pouring back at the shoppers didn’t result into new search traffic acquisition, and keeping the program as a business of itself (which it once was) apparently hasn’t been in Microsoft’s plans.

Is it another evidence that “money cannot buy happiness” as Techcrunch puts it, or am I just being sarcastic here? Which ever way it is, my strongest sentiment is a feeling of sadness about all the great technology wasted by the company in an attempt to salvage a fairly unrelated business.

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