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Popular deal sites – May 2009

This is May 2009 revision of the Popular Deal Sites list. You can find the last month revision of the list here.

The change in rating shows the difference compared to April results and includes all deal sites from my database that meet Alexa Rank < 100,000 requirement. The list has 42 sites, one more than last month

The average deal site lost 0.12% in Alexa rank this month with deals.com (-17.12%) losing most of all. The top gainers this month are froobi.com (22.6%) and dealplumber.com (17.46%).

#Web SiteAlexa RankPage RankOnline Since
1slickdeals.net (info) 695 (0.14%)6 10-Nov-1999
2fatwallet.com (info) 1726 (-1.11%)6 29-Nov-1999
3dealnews.com (info) 3925 (3.44%)6 20-Jan-1999
4techbargains.com (info) 4890 (-2.75%)6 03-May-1999
5dealspl.us (info) 6465 (-3.16%)5 15-May-2006
6anandtech.com 6670 (0.04%)6 24-Aug-1997
7bensbargains.net 7336 (-3.6%)5 21-Mar-2000
8deals2buy.com (info) 7385 (7.84%)4 15-Nov-2002
9 (1)dealsea.com 9339 (6.52%)5 27-Jun-2001
10 (1)dealcatcher.com 10241 (-3%)6 28-Jul-1999
11dealtaker.com (info) 11080 (-0.54%)6 (-1)08-Feb-2004
12cheapstingybargains.com 11908 (1.38%)5 20-Jan-2005
13dealigg.com (info) 13969 (-5.39%)4 (1)04-Sep-2006
14resellerratings.com (info) 16638 (1.01%)6 18-Jun-1998
15 (1)savings.com 21864 (5.76%)5 (1)20-Apr-1995
16 (1)spoofee.com 21978 (-1.64%)5 31-Dec-2000
17xpbargains.com 25015 (-2.39%)4 29-Nov-2001
18edealinfo.com 27205 (-6.08%)4 (-1)12-Dec-2000
19 (1)dealofday.com 27873 (-1.89%)5 30-Aug-1999
20 (1)dealsofamerica.com 28471 (-4.47%)5 06-Sep-2003
21bradsdeals.com 28561 (1.11%)5 29-Jun-2005
22couponalbum.com 28614 (2.45%)5 18-Jan-2006
23judysbook.com 32908 (-0.89%)5 11-Aug-2003
24bargaineering.com 35802 (1.68%)3 01-Dec-2004
25 (1)bargainist.com (info) 39221 (-6.64%)3 21-Nov-2006
26 (1)gottadeal.com 39680 (-8.59%)4 (-1)27-Jan-2003
27deals.com (info) 43572 (-17.12%)5 (-1)28-Feb-1995
28buxr.com 44353 (6.67%)4 (1)04-Dec-2007
29logicbuy.com 51782 (6.53%)3 (-1)13-Nov-2003
30 (2)dealplumber.com 62062 (17.46%)3 (-1)17-Jul-2006
31 (1)passwird.com 66859 (-4.23%)4 28-Aug-2001
32 (1)dailyedeals.com 73421 (-4.19%)4 18-Feb-2000
33 (2)gotapex.com 74521 (4.9%)4 29-Apr-1999
34ableshoppers.com 77509 (-0.74%)5 08-Oct-2000
35 (2)dealhack.com 78766 (-3.37%)4 06-Feb-2005
36 (1)webbyplanet.com 79211 (6.16%)4 09-Feb-2006
37 (1)bigbigforums.com 86107 (-2.48%)3 07-Aug-2001
38 (6)froobi.com 86292 (22.6%)1 (1)01-Jun-2008
39shopping-bargains.com 90754 (-5.03%)4 (-1)20-Feb-1999
40 (2)hot-deals.org 95629 (6.95%)3 10-May-2000
41 (3)a2zdeals.com 95912 (-11.3%)4 05-Aug-1999
42 (2)dealslist.com 96351 (-7.29%)4 18-Jul-2000

Social Bargain Hunting Roundup

This year has been revolutionary for the Internet. It’s growing popularity has given birth to a new trend - “social”. What started as IRC and bulletin boards has now been adopted by all online services. User contributed content is the king this year and according to this Times magazine article its impact will only grow in the years to come.

In addition online shopping has experienced very nice growth this year. Online spending during this holiday season are 25% up according to comScore. The growth has created an opportunity for new players to join the game thus growing the already long list of participants. Many of them are adopting social features.

Let’s go over some newcomers featuring social attributes and check what they are really worth. I used several factors for selection, among them are usability, functionality, innovation and design. Popularity often influences usability with social websites therefore let’s look at it first.

Comparing Traffic

Alexa Charts

The only thing that is clear from this Alexa chart that Dealspl.us is leading the pack while Modoshi is far behind. The rest three websites are somewhere in between.

In an attempt to measure how many deals these websites have I did a search for “iPod” on each of them and counted number of entries posted within the last 30 days. Besides I attempted to measure how fresh the data is by looking up the latest deal. Here is what I found as of 12/25/07 4:30 am (no, Santa has not stopped by yet :-)):

Dealspl.us Dealigg Deals.com Dealplumber Modoshi
Search for “iPod” 137 105 10 12 100
Latest posted deal 10 hours 4 minutes 2 days 3 days 8 hours

Be aware that some of the deals may be submitted by the people running the websites and hence these counts cannot be used to judge how popular the websites are. Nevertheless the numbers give an idea what to expect.

Dealspl.us

Dealspl.usThe side-project of its parent website bensbargains Dealspl.us may soon overgrow its dad. Dealspl.us had a privilege to come to the market among the first (if you don’t count the early experiments like dealcritic) and managed to do a lot of things right. Ben’s 6 years of pro-bargain hunting have helped to avoid mishaps. The content, while user submitted, is constantly moderated and refined. I am sure Ben feeds a few of his own deals every day to keep the things running smoothly.

The simple and nice looking design along with pre-filled quality deals content is what made the website a success initially. The team kept adding functionality and now I cannot really find anything that I wanted from a bargain hunting site that Dealspl.us didn’t have. Maybe just some minor things like email newsletter, hot deals widget, and a submitter web browser plugin? (Ben, it is a hint ;-) )

Dealigg

DealiggFrom the first glance Dealigg looks like a “not very polished” Dealspl.us copycat. Nevertheless it doesn’t prevent it from bringing in nice user traffic. Overall it is very much one step behind compared to the original. The coupons section, the friends feature, and the talk groups are just a few things that Dealigg lacks compared to Dealpl.us. Read my earlier Dealigg review to get a better picture.

Deals.com

Deals.comThe creators of Deals.com have put aside sufficient funding for the domain name and web site branding yet they failed to assess the level of saturation in the bargain hunting market. A great domain name and a cute logo could bring crowds of visitors a year back but not today.

As the result the website is somewhat stagnant (see the table above). I wrote about Deals.com earlier and why it may fail. Another example of a nicely designed quickly forgotten website is Trezr — read my review here.

Dealplumber

DealplumberDealplumber started around the same time as Dealspl.us and originally boasted a higher Alexa rank due to slightly earlier launch and the “share deals & earn” program which allowed affiliate ids in the submitted links. The website however wasn’t as well designed as Dealspl.us and most importantly it failed to deliver quality deals which in turn didn’t work well as far as retaining a user base goes.

Very recently they have somewhat improved the website design and navigation however it is still not as convenient as I would like it to be. Just a few things:

  • The menu at the bottom is hard to see (and there are some important things there)
  • There is no way to access all related store deals from a single deal page
  • I cannot mark a deal as a spam or expired

The web site functionality overall is a subset of that of Dealspl.us

Modoshi

ModoshiLaunched just last month Modoshi is trying to succeed where Dealplumber failed — revenue sharing — hence the web site name which in Japanese means “giving-back”. “Typically, Modoshi will receive 7 to 8 percent from an affiliate for each sale, and on average, 40 to 50 percent of that commission will go to the user who posted the deal”, according to the website’s co-founder Vaishali Anga.

I remember the main problem with Dealplumber was spam. Users would submit low-quality deals and benefit from the clicks the website attracted after the launch. In an attempt to improve the deals quality Modoshi is running daily contests. There are two ways how you can win a prize (currently $5): post a best selling deal or pick the best selling deal. While you can post or pick as many deals as you like only one deal and pick can be submitted every day to the contest. This is a very smart move which will certainly pay off.

Modoshi Contest

While Modoshi may be a fun game to play for school kids it still lacks some must-have features. For example I couldn’t find any way to browse deals by a merchant. They also don’t seem to have a separate section for coupons/promo codes. The thing I liked is that I could rank deals up and down without being logged in (the vote is associated with my IP address). This should give a boost to the user activity that Modoshi needs so much.

Conclusion

I have ranked each website on a 1 to 5 scale where 1 is the worst and 5 is the best. Here is the run down:

Dealspl.us Dealigg Deals.com Dealplumber Modoshi
Usablility 5 4 1 1 4
Functionality 5 4 3 3 4
Innovation 4 2 3 3 5
Design 4 2 5 3 3

No question Dealspl.us is the current leader in social bargain hunting. Judging by the features and the innovating marketing campaign Modoshi seems to be the next runner up. Dealigg is playing catch ups while Dealplumber is recovering from the early mistakes. Deals.com has good potential (especially given its catchy domain name) but the team needs to introduce some more innovation into what they are doing.

2006 marks the first year when social bargain hunting really caught up. While reviewed here websites have satisfied the essential demand there are still opportunities to build on what’s accomplished. In addition I think the market penetration at this point is not yet high and new players (or old players with new ambitions) will have a good shot at grabbing a piece of the pie — a good example is the recent social revolution at JudysBook.

Inspired by The Social Shopping Faceoff
from ReadWriteWeb

Deals.com goes social

Deals.comDeals.com has quietly launched over Thanksgiving as a new socially oriented Digg-style site for bargain hunters.

If you take a ride back in time you will be able to see that in previous life the domain hosted a traditional bargains site (first as Overstock and then independently) before in March 2005 it became a price comparison engine. This will be the third reincarnation and this time around it will join the likes of dealspl.us, dealplumber, judysbook, dealigg, trezr, and most recently — modoshi.

Demand Media who owns the project has set up a tutorial on how to use the new web site (by the way eHow which hosts the tutorial is another property owned by Demand Media).

I signed up for an account and had a short test drive. So far the impression is positive. Here are a few comments.

  • The Quick Submit Tool is a great idea. Drag the button to your browser toolbar and submitting deals just became much easier
  • No profit sharing of any kind… Huh? I guess with domain name like this you do not need it.
  • Items images/thumbnails are in details but not in the list view… Any particular reason for this? The visual element is a very important part of shopping. I wouldn’t hide it behind an extra mouse click.
  • Got to separate coupons and discounts from the rest of the merchandise. Mixing these different things is not very natural.
  • Need a page with the list of featured stores so users could browse deals by store as well as by category.

In general I suggest taking a look at dealspl.us who seem to be setting the standard in social bargain hunting. They have been fortunate to get in the market early and are now experimenting with such add-ons as user friends and discussion groups. And by the way, dealplumber — the dealspl.us closest rival — has recently done a redesign to look more dealspl.us-ish — that tells something, doesn’t it? :-)

Voting for deals – the Players

I have previously covered the topic of voting for deals and how important voting can be. I would like to dedicate this posting to the web sites that would not exist is they didn’t take advantage of the idea.

Building web sites that live off of people powered content is the latest Web2.0 trend. It has brought millions of visitors to such web sites as Digg and YouTube. So who are the players in the bargain hunting market?

DealsPlus DealsPlus is probably the most successful implementation of the concept. Do you need a proof? Check their ranking in our list of most popular web sits. Not yet convinced? Take a look at how much they got paid for a single front page ad. I am sure not many established web sites can boast $710 price tag let alone 4 month old infants. So what have they done right? Here are a few things:

  • Frequently updated, structured and moderated content. When you are looking for a deal you don’t want to be browsing hundreds and thousands of offers that all look alike (which you would at DealPlumber – more about them next).
  • Simplicity. The web site is certainly not cluttered. You can get pretty much everywhere with one or two mouse clicks.
  • Good marketing. The initial iPOD and Flash Drive offering to the top users has boosted visits to the web site. Guess what? Those folks who did it for a flash drive now do it for fun!
  • Great web site design. I am really having hard time finding at least a single suggestion how it can be improved. Well, from the second thought, they could have added price-comparison functionality if it’s possible to do so without sacrificing the cleanness of the site layout.

dealplumber.gif This is the runner up according to our list. They have done a great job designing the web site and thanks to their share deals & earn program they have amassed a huge number of offerings. But what good is the deal if you (as a buyer) really have no clue if it is the best value out there? I have browsed through the first 10 pages of latest deals and couldn’t find a single deal with a user comment or rating. On top of that DealPlumber is really lacking some useful features. For example I love the ability to click on the seller in DealsPlus while looking at their offering and go directly to coupons, promotions and other deals from that seller. The ads DealPlumber places all over its pages don’t help much either.

DealSpy DealSpy is a classic Pligg clone. The creators have done a decent job beautifying it but obviously not nearly enough to lure the visitors a masse. It also lags behind DealsPlus and possibly DealPlumber by the functionality it offers. As the result, the site is pretty much dormant. The newest deal posted as of writing this is 1 day 11 hours old. Let’s see if DealSpy v2.0 improves the situation. Overall the web site looks like a low budget project done by a hobbyist or two. It would certainly help to do at least some marketing.

DealCritic This was one of the first web2.0 bargain hunting sites I have discovered. It probably happened about the same time I found about Digg. It was new and cool yet it appears it hasn’t picked up ever since. Why?

  • Devoted bargain hunters don’t use it since there has been no community behind the site to post & rank new deals. You really need some critical mass to get things started. This doesn’t seem to have happened.
  • Main-stream shoppers don’t use it as well and the reason I think is this. Shopping is a very visual process. You really need a good wrapping for the product and by wrapping I mean a picture and reviews (or at least some user feedback). DealCritic lacks these attributes.

It is worth to mention that such oldie as JudysBook has recently joined the bandwagon. They are playing around with the concept as well.

Also read this interesting comparisson of DealsPlus and DealPlumber at Shoutblog and this one at RotorBlog.

Update 10/02: Popular Canadian bargan hunting web site RedFlagDeals has just intoduced the new site design. Guess what? It allows users to vote for deals… Who is going to be next?




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