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.