Tag Archive for 'retailmenot'

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.
Continue reading ‘How big is WhaleShark’s share of coupon business?’

RetailMeNot dominance over? Or not…

RetailMeNot took the coupons market by the storm when they launched in 2006 and ever since have been dominating the online coupons landscape beating the closest competitor by a wide margin (according to Alexa). How did that happen?

The site relies on a number of dedicated toolbars users who feed the RetailMeNot database with enormous quantity of coupon codes that they stumble upon. This creates volume which in turn creates buzz and links. Links help RetailMeNot rank for coupon related terms on Google which in turn brings people to the website and drives the Alexa chart up, not to mention all the revenue that comes alone.

Continue reading ‘RetailMeNot dominance over? Or not…’

Why coupon site owners hate RetailMeNot

I received a funny and angry email today from a coupon site owner who didn’t seem to be too happy about me listing RetailMeNot in my Popular Sites monthly list. He then goes ahead and gives me a link to a thread at ABestWeb forums which in essence is a 14 page long discussion between affiliate site owners and affiliate network managers about RetailMeNot. The conversation starts with Todd of AlexsCoupons complaining that RMN publishes his exclusive coupon for iFrogz:

This kind of crap has got to end. I am getting very tired of working my a$$ off to establish a good relationship with a merchant, only to see some scraper come along and benefit from my work. (They even listed the code as their exclusive code!)

First thing that strikes me is how difficult it is for somebody running an established affiliate site to accept that the business could be done in a non traditional way. The typical (or call it “legacy”) coupon site is operated by a stuff of a few people who get the coupons from merchants via affiliated channels and distribute them to their user base. The new breed however uses a different approach. They ride the “social phenomenon” and have the content posted to them by the community.

The new web

This can be difficult to understand for somebody who don’t keep their eyes open to what is happening around the web (which is often the case when you are “working your a$$ off” :-) ). Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube have popped up and boast millions of pages of content. Where did it come from? Did the YouTube owners post each video they have?

The same revolution happens in the affiliate world at a smaller scale and while the forum based website owners (like SlickDeals and Fatwallet) for obvious reasons have no issue with it, the traditional businesses do. So do some merchants. Here is one of them commenting to the same ABestWeb thread

My problem with RMN lies in that I have removed them from my affiliate programs, so they took it upon themselves to flood their site with every single unauthorized coupon code they could find, thereby compromising my marketing results. And what’s even more frustrating is that the consumer has no clue what they are doing is wrong. RMN tops my list of unethical affiliates and they seem to really enjoy the “bad boy” tag they’ve acquired in the affiliate world.

Consumers are not a hoard of animals. If they got to a RetailMeNot page they are intelligent enough to have figured out that they can use the web to search for coupons. That by itself is quite an achievement I should say. As to RMN flooding the site with “unauthorized” coupon codes. The codes are only “unauthorized” as long as the coupon site has an affiliate agreement with the store and guess what happens when you receive an email from a merchant and face a choice to remove the coupons or leave the program? This is exactly what we recently faced at Buxr when the email came from New York and Company. We took a hard look at what will be left should we remove the “unauthorized” coupons and figured we will be doing a poor service to our visitors and instead opted to break with the merchant. This may sound crazy to an affiliate old timer but this is the reality of doing affiliate business in a new way.

Too big to fail

There is a bit of irony in how affiliate network managers approach the situation. On one hand they take an action when merchants (or other affiliates) communicate problems to them about unauthorized use of coupons. Here is one such “action”:

OK, I found them in my CJ account and expired them. Thanks for the tip. They signed up last week so the URL was fresh in my mind.

If the outrage was over a small insignificant coupon site then this would be the end of the story, however as big as RMN has grown they represent significant lost revenue for any network that doesn’t stay on board and so the managers have a big incentive to keep things running, even to the extend of taking on policing the site for “bad” coupons. Here is a much later comment from the same manger (who took the action above)

Over the last few years I have developed an excellent relationship with RMN and am very satisfied with them. It takes me a minute to ask for a change or removal I control the copy on the merchants store page and optimize it. Don’t know other affiliates letting me do that.

So a compromise is possible? Sure thing. If there is a will there is a way and the fact that RMN rakes 4 million in sales each month somewhat helps the matter. :-)

And finally here is a comment that sums it up very well:

It is apparent that a) merchants like RMN because they bring in sales and b) affiliates are jealous of the RMN concept that has done very well. Not sure there is anything else to say about RMN.

Breaking old habits is hard but social bargain hunting is here to stay whether some like it or not. If old Terms of Service are no longer good then the new ones will be written. It is time for a change.

RetailMeNot releases July coupon data report

The second most popular coupon site in my monthly list has just released July stats data on consumer coupon usage. This time they add online coupons information and also throw in some interesting details like top 10 most searched stores. By the way, the number one is Victoria’s Secret followed by Amazon and Macy’s.

Here are some highlights that caught my eye. Go to Tips at RetailMeNot for the complete update.

Traffic in July

Traffic in July: 9.7 million
Year over year change: 95% (5 million July 2008)

Available Coupons

Online: 236,701 coupons for 36,127 retailers
Printable: 180,000 coupons for 72,000 stores

Online Coupon Sales in July

Sales generated: Approximately $18 million
Year over year change: 80% ($10m in July 08)

Popular Coupon Sites – March 2009

This is March 2009 revision of the Popular Coupon sites list. You can find the previous revision of the list here.

The change in rating shows the difference compared to February results. This list currently has 33 sites - two more than in February ( and are in). On average the coupon sites have lost (5.13%) in March.

The best performer is (26.43%), which also moves up by 6 positions, and the worst result comes from (-30.76%) which is giving up it’s earlier gains but holding on to the #1 position. Enjoy the complete list below!

# Web Site Alexa Rank Page Rank Online Since
1 (info) 1900 (-30.76%) 6 27-Oct-2006
2 1950 (-6.38%) 5 (1) 08-Apr-1999
3 (1) 2018 (21.69%) 6 07-Sep-1994
4 (1) 2475 (-28.3%) 6 (1) 03-Jun-1996
5 5892 (-7.09%) 5 05-May-2001
6 8323 (-15.97%) 6 (1) 27-Feb-2003
7 13116 (8.7%) 5 27-Apr-1995
8 (1) 18595 (13.08%) 6 25-Jun-2002
9 (1) 21403 (-6.61%) 5 16-Feb-1999
10 24116 (-2.07%) 4 20-Apr-1995
11 (1) 29074 (1.53%) 4 16-Jun-2007
12 (1) 31330 (-19.5%) 4 02-Jul-2001
13 (1) 35376 (-15.8%) 4 30-Jan-2006
14 (1) 36401 (-20.02%) 4 15-Jun-2006
15 (1) 37055 (-3.45%) 5 27-Jan-1999
16 (2) 38466 (-3.25%) 6 (1) 22-Jun-1994
17 (2) 38742 (-12.04%) 4 24-Mar-2007
18 (1) 39277 (5.34%) 5 11-Jun-2006
19 (2) 43988 (-22.61%) 5 (1) 26-Nov-2003
20 44729 (-7.29%) 4 (-1) 01-Aug-2007
21 49633 (-10.26%) 5 19-May-1999
22 (2) 53041 (11.41%) 5 28-Aug-2001
23 (2) 54107 (9.84%) 5 15-Jan-2005
24 (2) 61565 (-14.15%) 3 (-1) 23-May-2006
25 (2) 65695 (-18.47%) 3 (-1) 21-Jan-2002
26 (3) 74727 (7.38%) 5 (1) 11-Feb-1998
27 (6) 80738 (26.43%) 6 24-Apr-2002
28 (2) 82683 (-13.34%) 6 (1) 27-Dec-2000
29 (2) 86208 (-17.54%) 4 16-Dec-1999
30 86765 (-1.76%) 5 20-Feb-1999
31 88043 (11.55%) 4 09-Feb-2006
32 (4) 92623 (-19.14%) 4 (1) 28-Sep-2003
33 (1) 94896 (9.34%) 4 21-Sep-1999

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