Tag Archive for 'bargain-hunter'

10 things that make a perfect deal site

Multiple discountThe past two years have brought us some interesting online trends. The web has truly become a place to meet friends, exchange ideas, and express your personality. The result is the explosive growth of blogging, online collaboration and social networks.

On the other hand web technologies keep advancing improving usability of web applications and opening some new opportunities. As the result certain online services are seriously threatening the markets established by their traditional off-line counterparts. Microsoft has never been more in trouble with their Office than it is now.

The web revolution hasn’t gone unnoticed in the deals and coupons niche either. The traditional web forums still dominate the scene but new websites have come online and while some failed others are slowly creeping their way up the popularity ladder.

The concept of a perfect deal site has been haunting me for some time and today I finally got my act together and put down my thoughts in writing. Just to be clear, these are my thoughts. I am sure you have your own opinion and I would love to hear about it in the comments.

1. Open discussions

SlickDeals and FatWallet have been in the lead for very long time and there is a simple explanation to it: they have gathered a community of people who share ideas and news around anything deals related. The ideal deal site must allow for its users to initiate and follow discussion on a variety of subjects, not necessarily related to product offerings or promotions

2. Visual presentation

It goes without a question that graphically rich visual presentation is critical with shopping. All newcomers that made the list have been distinct about how they present the offers. Both DealPlus and Dealigg extensively use images and have similar layout that seem to work the best with online bargain hunters.

3. User submitted content

I don’t know about you but I have much more trust in the site driven by content submitted by other fellow bargain hunters like myself. RetailMeNot is my favorite coupon site and it is also one of the top in the list as well. User submitted hot products is tough but not impossible to implement as well. Just need to put in place the right incentives.

4. Absence of ad banners

Banner ads suck. A deal site plastered with ads will be the last deal site on my list. It is certainly lost revenue for the site owners but only in a short run. Ultimately it will bring more return visitors and grow the sales. This is probably why DealPlus has recently reworked their design to eliminate almost all pay per click ads from the pages.

5. Shopping incentives

With so much competition and online shoppers becoming more educated, sharing affiliate commissions becomes a norm. Providing it is lost revenue, not providing it is a lost market share. The success story of JellyFish proves that this approach works even when you break into an already saturated market.

6. Convenient site navigation

This should really be on the top of my list but it is not because this is a requirement I take for granted. Being able to see similar deals or deals from same merchant is essential. Categories and search must be visible and accessible from any page. Use of AJAX could also improve usability and make visitors happier.

7. Clearly marked expired deals

Hot deals usually have very short life span. That extra effort of verifying and marking expired deals makes a huge difference for a deal site. This can be a lot of work for a site with a thousands of products but doing so at least for the last week or two worth of deals is very important.

8. Integrated price comparison

The hot deal offering looks much more convincing when compared to available alternatives. Not displaying price comparison on the deal page almost looks like a sign of weakness to me. Many popular deal sites are doing a great job at providing this functionality. Check out DealNews for example

9. Social functionality

User profiles, deal ranking, friends and communities – all of these features create a devoted following and gets new visitors involved. This is more important for an established site than a new one since absence of any activity (when it is expected) may negatively affect the overall impression about a site.

10. Informative about page

Knowing who maintains the site, what their policy is, and how I can contact these people gives me a nice and warm feeling that may well become a deal breaker when I get to decide whether I should come to shop to this place again. Unfortunately many deal site owners fail to realize it.


This list could probably keep going. I have not mentioned RSS feeds, web API’s, or integration with social networks, which becomes widespread these days. Also, I want to stress that no functionality will replace the quality of posted hot deals which is the utmost important characteristic of any deal site.

The list above just combines the things I pay attention to the most when visiting a new website and the things I would make sure to implement if I were to start a deal site myself (and I am not saying I won’t ;-) ). What is your list? Please share with me your thoughts.

The photo is courtesy of purplespace at Flickr

My bargain hunting philosophy, things that matter

When I started this blog. I decided that I will write about things related to online shopping and in particular will talk about how to save money while shopping.

While shopping related events and news come and go, there are certain fundamental ideas that never get old. This blog post pretty much summarizes the principles that I try to follow in my quest to smart shopping.

Don’t buy what you don’t need

The temptation might be high but the most important principle of my bargain hunting philosophy is not to buy stuff I won’t use. There might be exceptions, and that is if you are sure it will make a good gift for someone you know, or if you are confident you can sell it for profit on eBay. The general rule however is that before you buy that flash drive for $5 after rebate, answer to yourself, why do you need 3-4-5 of these flash drives?

Buy used if it makes sense

Buying things used actually satisfies two sides of me, one I save money, two I give the thing second life. This is especially true of books and toys for kids which I never buy new. is where I usually end up buying books and garage sales is the main source of toys for my kids. I have previously discussed this subject and you might want to take a look at my list of things you should never buy new.

Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk

This of course doesn’t apply to everything however there is a certain class of things you can buy in bulk and save. Paying $$$ up front might look scary to some but don’t let your feelings confuse you — use the math. Here are some things I always buy in numbers:

  • napkins, toilet paper, paper towels
  • toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • canned food
  • batteries

Go DIY whenever it works

Doing things yourself might not always be the best option (check out the oil change discussion in the comments to this post) but there are many cases when it can save you money and you might learn something useful in the process. In addition there might be some other side benefits you didn’t expect.

For example I resist to the temptation to hire someone to mow my yard grass. I feel I need that bit of workout (applies to snow shoveling too). Also, I found I can save a lot by replacing the printer toner instead of entire cartridge, somewhat around $100 savings per fill up.

Consider hidden costs

Use your brains and view your new gadget or utility from all perspectives. If you buy a printer look at the per print costs. If you buy a car, consider insurance, maintenance, repair, and gas costs. These can be huge factors affecting the cost of ownership/use. This is exactly why I replaced my ink jet printer with a laser one long time ago, and why I switched to CFL lights as soon as I moved into our home.

Don’t run after the latest and greatest

I am sure many of you enjoy owning that latest gadget. This however may be very costly and if you wait a few months, the price may well go down by 50% or more. This is the nature of marketing. People want new stuff and merchants play on their feelings by jacking up prices. Resist the urge and wait it out. Buy two gadgets for the price of one later, give one to your younger sister/brother as a gift, and enjoy the feeling of giving!

Search and compare

I never buy a more or less expensive thing without first visiting a few other stores to compare alternatives. For online shopping, use this list of price comparison sites as a reference. For off line, call FruCall, or just visit a few competitors. Don’t go overboard though and weigh what is more important to you, the opportunity to save, or the chance of wasting time and effort.

Don’t forget to haggle

Remember that prices on big-ticket items are almost always negotiable. While there are some things we all know about (car, house, furniture) there are other things that are less obvious (bed mattress, household electronics). Here are a few haggling tricks to get you started. Negotiate your new car price via email if haggling face to face is not your thing.

Use credit cards with cash back

Credit cards with a cash back option are the easiest way to save while shopping. They require minimum effort and savings can be up to 5% on top of any other discount you find. Credit cards have been one of my favorite money savings tools. Read this blog post for an overview of how I use them.

The only challenge with credit cards is to remember that all your savings will evaporate if you don’t pay your balance in full. Once you get that part right — just rip the benefits. For optimal credit card rewards, make sure your cards are tuned up.

Visit deal sites

Once in a while I entertain myself or my close ones to a gift. Gifts are twice more entertaining if I don’t have to pay for them my arm and leg. Free gifts are especially enjoying. Deal sites is what I use for my gifts. I usually give them a visit once every other day and see if anything really hot pops up. In addition to deal sites from my monthly list I can recommend deal aggregators (reviewed here and here).

Read my blog

This list will not be complete without a shameless plug like this. ;-) I have been noticing lately that I use my blog as a reference to all things I know about online shopping and bargain hunting (well, this is one of the reasons why I started it). To organize things a little bit, I have collected the most valuable pieces in the Links section for easy reference. For other things I just use blog search.

What is your shopping philosophy? Do you have some bargain hunting tips you would like to share?

Bargain Hunting site of the week series

I am starting a series of reviews for the websites in my long monthly list of Popular Bargain Hunting sites. I am going to review one website a week and will go over strong and weak sides of each.

There has been no particular reviews order established and I think I will just follow my intuition when deciding who to review next. If you have a good candidate for the upcoming week — let me know. The preference will be given to the websites that offer something unique, something that no one else has.

I am currently exchanging emails with a few website owners and the facts I learn suggest that the series is going to be a lot of fun!

The list has 47 entries and keeps growing every month. It will take me at least a year to review all of the websites, so buckle up your seatbelt, subscribe to my full RSS feed and enjoy the ride!

Full RSS Feed

Popular bargain hunting sites – January 2007

This is the January 2007 revision of the Popular Bargain Hunting web sites list. You can find the last month revision of the list here.

The change in rating shows the difference compared to December results. The list has a total of 47 web sites. There are 20 more in my database that didn’t meet the Alexa Rank < 100,000 requirement.

You will notice that Page Rank values are dancing a lot compared to the previous month. This is due to two factors: (1) Google rolled out a PR update in January and many websites were affected; (2) thanks to your comments, I reworked the script calculating Page Rank to take into account results from multiple data centers and to include "www" prefix into the domain name. The script changes however accounted only for some of the positive Page Rank change. If you see a decrease -- it is because of the Google update.

The biggest gainer is Deals with Alexa rank grows of 13.6%. This is a residual grows mostly due to the spike in popularity in early December when the website was launched. The weekly average for web site is actually above 100,000.

The biggest looser is Trezr with 50.73% change in Alexa rank. The web site is experiencing a steady decline ever since it launched in September.

Trezr Alexa Rank

I periodically submit there my best blog posts with money saving tips but I really don't see many visitors coming back. Do you want to know why? You might find an answer here.

#Web SiteAlexa RankPage RankOnline Since
1 704 (-15.79%)6 10-Nov-1999
2 716 (-22.81%)6 (-1)29-Nov-1999
3 2068 (-7.48%)7 24-Aug-1997
4 3192 (-6.12%)7 (1)20-Jan-1999
5 3591 (-13.53%)5 (-1)03-May-1999
6 4275 (-13.13%)6 21-Mar-2000
7 6834 (-7.1%)6 28-Jul-1999
8 7712 (-10.57%)6 (1)27-Jan-2003
9 9181 (4.79%)5 (3)15-Nov-2002
10 9254 (-9.63%)6 (-1)18-Jun-1998
11 9264 (-19.38%)5 12-Dec-2000
12 9824 (-12.75%)5 (1)27-Jun-2001
13 10254 (2.08%)4 08-Feb-2004
14 10590 (-22.4%)6 11-Aug-2003
15 11090 (-5.66%)5 19-May-1999
16 11946 (-1.16%)4 (-1)29-Nov-2001
17 12337 (0.68%)5 (2)15-May-2006
18 16996 (-3.62%)7 30-Aug-1999
19 17965 (-4.81%)3 (-1)31-Dec-2000
20 21865 (0.18%)5 (2)06-Sep-2003
21 23917 (-0.6%)5 (1)29-Jun-2005
22 26031 (-9.09%)5 (-1)29-Apr-1999
23 27552 (3.98%)3 (-1)23-May-2000
24 33767 (4.07%)5 (2)18-Jul-2000
25 34088 (5.4%)5 (1)01-Dec-2004
26 40280 (1.76%)4 (4)04-Sep-2006
27 41796 (-17.35%)4 29-Nov-2002
28 42079 (-9.14%)4 (-1)18-Feb-2000
29 43190 (-17.28%)4 10-May-2000
30 43848 (-15.56%)4 (-1)08-Oct-2000
31 48130 (-8.97%)5 (2)20-Jan-2005
32 50494 (-2.77%)5 (1)17-Jul-2006
33 52663 (-18.99%)5 (3)19-Apr-2005
34 52795 (0.87%)4 (4)28-Mar-2006
35 53877 (-21.31%)5 (2)27-Dec-2000
36 54971 (-10.53%)5 29-May-2000
37 59706 (n/a) 2 (n/a) 01-Nov-2003
38 61428 (5.1%)4 (3)22-Sep-2004
39 64676 (-5.7%)5 (2)06-Feb-2005
40 69769 (n/a) 5 (n/a) 21-Nov-2006
41 69936 (n/a) 3 (n/a) 06-Oct-2006
42 72119 (-50.73%)5 (5)08-Jun-2006
43 73182 (-9.68%)6 (-1)21-Aug-2004
44 77492 (13.6%)3 (-1)28-Feb-1995
45 80759 (-3.87%)5 28-Aug-2001
46 83317 (-5.58%)3 (3)13-Mar-2006
47 86121 (-18.19%)5 (1)21-Oct-2002

Popular bargain hunting sites – November 2006

This is the November 2006 revision of the Popular Bargain Hunting web sites list. You can find the last month revision of the list here.

There are total 44 web sites — one more than the last month ( is a new social bargain hunting site that didn’t make the last month list). The change in rating shows the difference compared to October results.

The top looser is with a loss of -35.75%. The chart below shows that lost ground mid October and has been re-gaining it ever since — thanks to the Discussion Groups that they recently rolled out. Alexa

The top gainer this month is with a rating increase of 36.79%. This is undoubtedly thanks to its Black Friday related activity.

Here is the complete list. Enjoy!

#Web SiteAlexa RankPage RankOnline Since

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