RetailMeNot Saves You Money

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Making a lot of money online is a great thing. I’m sure guys like John can attest to that fact. At the same time, it is incredibly important to spend your money wisely. Two people with the same amount of money can lead very different lifestyles, depending on how they manage their finances. A great way to save money is with online coupons, but it can be so time-consuming hunting these down yourself. That’s where a deal-finding site like RetailMeNot.com comes into play.

What Do Pizza, Books, and Income Tax Software Have In Common?

There’s coupons for all that (and a bag of chips) on RetailMeNot.com. You’ll find more coupons for clothing stores (like Old Navy, J Crew, and yes, even T-Shirt Hell) compared to other categories, but there are also plenty of deals on computers,hardware, and entertainment, for example.

To manage the deluge of coupons, the developers have also created a few useful extras: a weekly newsletter, online forums, a Firefox extension and a Mac Dashboard Widget.

Do These Coupons Really Work?

Visitors to the site can contribute in at least three key ways.

  1. For each coupon, there is a small widget that asks “did this coupon work for you?” Based on the tally (represented by a percentage), future visitors can know what kind of success rate other users have had.
  2. Registered users can leave comments for each coupon. They can expand upon just the checkmark-X dichotomy and discuss specific experiences they may have had.
  3. If you discover an awesome deal for an online store and want to share it with all of your fellow shopaholics, you can do that through the submission form.

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How Does RetailMeNot Make Money Online?

Some may say that it’s a little evil what this website does. They market themselves as an invaluable resource for shoppers, particularly catering to bargain hunters who love nothing else but to cash in some coupons and save a couple bucks. What they don’t tell you is that several — the actual proportion is unknown — of the “deals” on the site are affiliate links. John uses a redirect for all of his affiliate deals here. His ReviewMe link, if you check the URI, uses a “go” folder. RetailMeNot uses a similar system, except they’ve used “out”. Same thing. There are also “featured discounts.”

The cool thing is that they don’t need to make a unique affiliate link for each coupon, because each redirect only sends you to the vendor’s main site and it’s up to you to punch in the coupon code. One store, one affiliate link.

Supplementing this affiliate income are a few Google ads. I don’t think this is the right approach, because the ads being served up could be for other similar bargain-hunting websites. A visitor may click and discover “the other guy.” If I were running RetailMeNot, I’d be inclined to remove the Google ads.

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The Look and Feel

The 70s wallpaper that flanks the main content doesn’t sit well with me. I’m not a fan of the purple and beige color scheme either. It’s just not all that attractive to me, but then again, I don’t think that I am the primary audience.

When I asked my girlfriend for her opinion on the site and its layout, she said that the physical appearance is “fine” and that it’s very “neutral.” She seemingly did not have the same adverse reaction as I did. However, she did mention that she did not like the tag cloud on the side, because it was “hard to read.”

Saving Money is Like Making Money

Bargain hunters love websites like these. Some coupons are better than others, surely, but having so many available through an ever-growing database gives you a whole lot of choice. Better still, the deals expand beyond just the United States, with special pages dedicated to Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany. These can be accessed by clicking on the tiny country flags in the sidebar. I would have preferred if these icons were larger and more prominently placed though.

The search form works quite well and I feel that RetailMeNot’s coupon code business plan is sound. If implemented correctly, the site can almost run itself. The only edits would be to throw in the affiliate links as necessary. As the site continues to grow, I’m sure that they will start to receive more “featured stores” and “featured deals”. And that will save/make money for everyone.


23 thoughts on “RetailMeNot Saves You Money”

  1. Ankur says:

    Great if you get value, let the other guy make money of it?!

    1. Jack Books says:

      Is this a reviewme post or not?
      if it is, wow, this is really great review mr. kwan.

      and i aggree with your girl, the sidecloud is horrible.

      1. Michael Kwan says:

        Yes, this is a ReviewMe post.

  2. Ashxx says:

    😯 I love you and this site. Thank you for showing me that site! They really should remove the links, though, as that is going to cost them a lot of users, and the affiliate links, like you said, are much more valuable.

  3. Mike Zak says:

    Usually what i did is writing the name of the site I want a coupon to together with “coupons” in google. And usually found the right coupon.

    But a centralized site could be nice.

    What I can’t understand is why the hell is the webmaster keeping the adsense Ads.

    I’m sure he’ll be able to make much more money from any visitor then what he does from Adsense.

    1. Perhaps his thinking is something like “if they’re going to leave, I might as well get paid when they do.”

  4. Wallace says:

    i like the old school design and layout,
    that all…

  5. I don’t mind the design.

    For the Adsense, they could just add Competitive Filters to lower the risk. They could also add start/end tags for Adsense to give other kind of ads.

    Mike Zak: When the site grow, it will be CPM and make another income that way.

    That is if they want to keep Adsense.

    1. I don’t have any problems with how the site looks either. I guess I got distracted by all the stores and affiliates. The next best things to free stuff — discounts, definitely.

  6. I have used retailmenot (and bugmenot) for a long itme now. It is a great service. Looks like they updated their layout recently.

  7. Hector says:

    Thanks for the advice, good article

  8. It’s weird because I’ve always been intrigued by [online] coupons but never used them as much as I thought I would. The site has a lot to improve on, I agree. However, I don’t think these minor glitches could get in the way of a serial online shopper. Great review, Michael!

    1. It’s good to find a single site that if successful will centralize all of the coupons that are online?

      Do we know how they are marketing the product. It will earn them alot of income.
      When you save people money it becomes valuable.

      Great review 😀

  9. shaun says:

    Great review Michael, I don’t really understand why there is adsense on their site. Normally retail sites or e-commerce sites steer away from adsense because it may loose them customers and give them a bad business rep.

    1. Michael Kwan says:

      The irony is that I had Adsense running on my freelance writing site when I started up and I haven’t really touched it since. After writing this review, I revisited my own site and have since taken down the ads.

  10. Santosh P says:

    I dont care about the site design, if it enables me to givesome heavy discounts on what I am shopping online.
    I bookmarked it, will make use of it next time.

  11. Mason says:

    wow that coupon site looks a lot better than most I’ve seen. 😛

  12. Marina says:

    RetailMeNot is brought to us by the folks of BugMeNot.com, and until very recently RetailMeNot had the same simple, clean design. I personally dislike the new interface and feel it takes away from the user experience. (I told them so, and received a kind reply that the majority of their feedback regarding the new look had been positive. Good for them, I guess.)

  13. We have friends who constantly make fun of us for clipping coupons. They just don’t realize the savings that can be gained. I really do think that it’ll be the difference between having a rich and full retirement where you don’t have to worry about pinching pennies then… and being destitute.

  14. terra says:

    This site seems to be less “spammy” than mosts of the coupon websites out there. I remember in the late 90’s.. when there was actually a legitimate money-saving website. It’s good to see something new out there that actually does what it says it will do!

  15. Sly says:

    Nice post! I have posted about this a few days ago on my Online Tips site. It’s nice to know that more people are actually knowing more about this site. Saving money online on purchases is a really helpful thing.

    Online Tips
    http://slyvisions.com

  16. Very smart of the company to consider this site for it’s review. They should see a large increase in the secret coupon sites these loyal John Chow readers have in their backpocket.

  17. kelly says:

    thanks for the insight!

    Kelly

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