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June 3rd, 2013 - Coupon Codes

Why Coupon Sites Suck

Recently we switched our backend ecommerce plaform from Volusion to BigCommerce. And with that change came many alterations to the way we operate. One of those changes was our relationship with coupon sites.

Let me be absolutely clear right off the bat... COUPON SITES SUCK!

Wait! Huh? That's right. They suck. They are theives, leeches. Unethical parasites that just force companies to raise prices. I know... that was a little harsh. But let me explain.

We've all done it. Your getting ready to buy something online so you do a quick Google search to see if you can get some sort of discount code to save you a few bucks. Nothing wrong with that right? It's not your fault for trying to save a buck or two. We all do it. So you go to your favorite coupon site and they tell you they have a 15% off coupon... score! You click on the link... get your code and you just saved some hard earned moolah! Life is good.

But here is where the coupon sites create an unethical revenue stream. Coupon sites don't exist to try to save you money. That's an illusion. They exist to cheat stores out of sales. Making it seem like they are driving traffic to the store. Let me give you an example of how this works.

Coupon Affiliate

The first thing a coupon site does is sign up for your affiliate program. Promising to drive crazy traffic to your website. They plague affiliate systems like Share-A-Sale and Commission Junction. Most affiliates earn about a 15% commission on sales that they generate. I know... what's wrong with that?

But here is where is becomes unethical. Remember that coupon site you went to? Remember you had to click a special link to even see the code? That click put the affiliate tracking number in your browser. So not only did you score a 15% discount the store now has to pay an additional 15% to the coupon site as a commission! So the store loses 30% on that sale.

Affiliate programs are great. They help people promote your store. But coupon sites don't generate any new  customers. They only steal the ones you already have! So lets look at the customer process one more time.

     1) Customer goes to the online store and finds a product they want to buy

     2) Customer searches online for a discount coupon and finds a coupon site

     3) Customer is forced to click on a link to see the code ( embedding affiliate code )

     4) Customer uses the code on the site saving 15%

     5) Coupon site earns a 15% Commission on the sale.

Did the coupon site do ANYTHING to earn that sale? NOPE! They snuck in and stole the commission for a customer that the store already had!

Most customers don't care. They saved a few bucks and that's all that matters. But they should care. Because the coupon sites make it impossible to generate enough revenue from the sale. So retailers need to increase prices. To me that's just silly! We have to increase our prices because we expect that coupon sites will rip us off? No way.

So will Vampfangs still have coupons? Absolutely! We email codes out all the time. We just refuse to pay ANY coupon site one penny. We no longer offer an affiliate program. But we do have a dropship program AND have hidden discounts all over the site. Discounts that appear by just adding items to the cart.

So the next time your looking for that coupon on a must have item. Contact the store first... ASK them if there is a deal. Don't let these leeches ruin the online experience for everyone.

Ok... rant over :-)

-Scott Smiledge

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