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Tag Archive for 'deal-sites'

What makes people use deal sites?

As I get more involved into the business of running a deal site, the topics like this one come more often to my mind. It is a seemingly simple question yet a very difficult one at the same time. If you get the answer right you will know what you need to change in your business plan and site design to help build a vibrant community around your idea.

What makes people come back to a deal site over and over again? I think many website owners will agree that the repeat users, the regulars, is the most precious type. They are more likely to advocate your business/hobby and recommend it to friends. There are really multiple reasons for them to stick with you but the major one is probably information they get on the subject of their interest - bargains.

Information

The basic form this information takes is the deals and coupons/promotions posted on the site. This is what the most of the deal sites from my “popular list” are very good at. It is important to have fresh daily updated content or the site will start losing regulars pretty quickly.

Besides the deals the information can take another form - deal related comments and feedback the visitors leave on the site. There are very few sites in that list that can boast the community required to produce this kind of information, probably just a few from the top 10, yet it is the comments and personal recommendations that help the most when deciding on a value of a particular deal.

Community

Humans are social creatures. The feeling of being a part of a group of like minded individuals makes us happy. If you look at the deal sites and forums, the majority of comments people leave are not really directed at helping others with bargain hunting. They are a social chitchat or small talk. Humor, flame, complains. This is what we do, we strive for attention and we get it in a form of feedback to our comments from other users.

The forum deal sites (e.g. like recently reviewed Spoofy) are the kind that are suited the best to support the community. A stricter format of a typical non-forum based deal site is not as good for this and so the owners of these sites usually run a forum on a side that they try to (more or less successfully) integrate into their main deals listings.

Financial incentives

These can include cash back on things we buy or prizes the site owners give away. Sometimes the incentives can be more elaborate, like with the no longer alive Modoshi, but these cases are very rare. Life proves that prizes by themselves are good to make existing users happy but a bad way to attract new ones, and in no way help build the feel of community.

What do you think brings return visitors to a deal site? Which site in your opinion does the best job at fulfilling these needs? Why?

Daily Deal & Coupon Site – Spoofee.com Review

This week I am reviewing Spoofee.com. This site is at the 16th position in Yan’s latest revision of popular deal sites. Spoofee.com features a mix of deal sites typical features such as deals, coupons and forums.

On the first look, Spoofee.com has a clean and uncluttered look and feel. This site uses variations of blue and white, which is now used in several popular sites.

The top menu contains links to the coupons section of the website, freebies section of the forums, a page listing links to weekly ads from various stores, a link to the forum index (termed as community) and an about us link.

The left bar features hot coupons and hot deals neatly formatted. The main content area lists deals and new & expiring coupons. Typically each day has about 10-15 deals. The details posted for each deal is impressive and is the best I have seen until now! The following details are listed for most deals:

i. A rating of the deal is 5 point scale
ii. Details about product review ratings received for the product at other websites (just a few words telling the rating)
iii. PriceGrabber price range (this is really useful as it lets you evaluate how good the deal is)
iv. Detailed instruction on how to get the deal, sometimes the deals instruction is as detailed as buying a coupon code from Ebay.

Spoofee Screenshot

As you can see, this information is really comprehensive. A quick check showed that most of the deal details are accurate.

On the coupons section, there are about 300-350 active coupons.

The forum section has a variety of topics as in other sites, with topics for Deals (which also includes comments for the items posted on the home page), Freebies and Giveaways, Coupons , Off Topics etc. The Coupons section of the forum has about 3-4 coupons posted per day. The Freebies section is really active and has a about 10 new posts per day.

Given that the deals posted on the home page are so informative, one might wonder why Spoofee.com is not as popular as leading deal sites. In my view, the answer to this is the very small number of deals posted per day. Additionally, the number of coupons is also less (300-350 active coupons) for the given wide range of stores. Thus though very strong on the quality of the deals posted, the quantity doesn’t help make Spoofee strong as neither a deal site nor a coupon site.

Are favorite deal site poll results rigged?

Exactly 5 months ago I asked all of you to vote for your favorite deal site, and 375 of you did. The top 5 results now stand like this:

Deal Site Votes
fatwallet.com 82
dealtaker.com 82
dealnews.com 59
slickdeals.net 39
markdownmonkey.com 38

The poll was set so that each vote is bound to a unique IP meaning if you used your IP once you can’t vote again. This is not a bullet proof way of eliminating duplicate votes but you really have to make an effort to go around this limitation (if you wanted to).

The comments on the other hand were not limited by IP. With that in mind, here are a couple of facts that make me think the poll results are rigged.

DealTaker comments are spam

I analyzed the comments and it appears 5 out of 8 comments praising DealTaker came from the same IP despite different usernames/emails in the comment signature. Here is the IP used: 71.74.145.215
I appreciate if anyone can find more about the geography of this address. This of course doesn’t prove anything but I am just curious.

Only top 5 positions gain votes

If you take a look at the complete list of votes, you will notice that only the top 5 positions have gained any significant number of votes. The #6 is shopping-bargains.com with twice less votes than #5, markdownmonkey.com
I might be wrong but this fact tells me that the voting is done by the people specifically interested to move the deal site to the top 5 to get listed on the front page.

Results go side by side

This is not as obvious unless you have been watching this for some time like I have and is especially true with positions #1 and #2. I have been seeing it happen several times: as soon as fatwallet.com becomes the front runner, some magical force comes along and dealtaker.com catches up. I have not paid as much attention to #4 and #5 but as you can see they have very close number of votes as well.

I am really distressed by these findings and consider pulling the poll results off the front page. What do you think?

Daily Deal Website – TechBargains Review

This week’s review is about TechBargains.com, which is one of the top ten deal websites in Yan’s popular website series. I should here note that, except for AnandTech which is a not really a dedicated deal website, every other website above TechBargains.com has been reviewed in the past.

Here is my first impression on visiting the home page, lots and lots of information in a single page. But there is a limit to it and this is too lot, to call it overloaded/cluttered. Doing a print preview (A4) on Firefox shows that there are 20 pages of content, which is about 11,500 words! Wow, that is just too much for any homepage. Added to this are the advertisements (banners, block of Google text ads) etc.

TechBargains home page

The homepage has a 3 column layout with the left side listing pretty much all the popular items in most categories while the right side is a listing of coupons for most of the websites they deal with. The center column lists deals for the past 2 days (no pagination) followed by two blocks titled “More News” and “Non-tech News” and which are nothing but again deals. A quick reading of the FAQ shows that they refer the deals as bargain news.

On continuing to read the FAQ, it shows that this website aspired to be a website like AnandTech (guide people on making decisions on tech products and additionally help in buying them) but then a visit to Product Reviews section of the forum shows that, this aspect of the website just does not make any appeal.

Continue reading ‘Daily Deal Website – TechBargains Review’

Daily Deal Site – Dealoco.com Review

This week I am reviewing dealoco.com on request. Dealoco is a new site, which to my guess was launched (may be unofficially) in October of 2007 and made an official launch in December 2007 (per the press release). Most references online and the press release mention advanced search engine, custom deal alerts, product reviews and grief factor. In this review we will see about these and several other features.

I recall reading in some blog/forum which tells something like “most deal sites have a look and feel of a design by a high school student who made a website for fun”. Yes, that is how most deal / coupon websites are, though there are some exceptions. Given that there is so much information deal sites want to get out within a short time, most sites tend to overload pages by cluttering excessively. But visiting this deal site made me think that it was one of those exceptions, a very nice & pleasant layout and feel. It is this look and feel of the website, which made it worth a review.

Quickly about the layout, the main top menu links to several categories of products such as cameras, computers and so on. Above which is a search box and above it are links to forums and other regular stuff. The home page lists “featured deals” for the day and the past few days with each day made into a block. Details about each block can be minimized or expanded, with the ability to expand or minimize all the items in a block in a single click. Each of the category pages list deals for that category in a chronological order.

Dealoco Front Page

Continue reading ‘Daily Deal Site – Dealoco.com Review’




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