It’s been going on for months mostly because a couple of bad eggs have been cookie stuffing and so robbing real content Affiliates of the hard earned money the deserve but more recently (today) a Discount Codes Podcast discussing the subject was released over at the top Affiliate Blog (puts this one to shame) by Fraser Edwards.
He interviews some affiliates (good eggs) that use codes to help hook-in customers to buying from a merchant, indeed I myself have been doing that very same thing since 1997 on my website Free UK Stuff. Discount codes, money off, vouchers and coupons have always played a big part in that site and as early as 1999 I decided to make spin off sites from Free UK Stuff. I had loads of choices and at the time was doing rather well from Competitions so I launched UK Competitions and I was doing ok from Coupons / Vouchers but also special offers and deals that didn’t fit the scope of just a “codes” site so I went with launching an Offers based site a few years later called Free UK Offers.
The question I am asking myself was, back in 1999 when I was picking UKCompetitions.com or UKCoupons.com what should I have done? Well I think I done the right thing for the time however as Jason from Loquax can tell you Competitions are a pain in the backside to keep up dated and I have a fraction of competitions that he has on his. I even made a half hearted attempt to lunch the coupons site in 2004 and again in 2006 but as I was very busy with other companies/projects and the stuff we where doing at the time was needing more and more work so it just never happened.
Now I am asking myself, should I even get involved in the whole coupons / voucher thing? I am certainly always looking for ways to capitalise on my bank of very good domain names, great website ideas or ways to do something better that is already being done but are coupon site heading for a crash and burn or has just the hyper activity and bad practices of a couple people in the early stages and will the Networks (all of them not just the normal few) stand up and root out the bad eggs? This could easily be another cash back phenomenon and how will this effect traditional content based Affiliates who I consider myself to be and have in 2007 launched some 8 content based sites. Are these basically now going to be the feeding ground to get customers interested in a product only for commission to be lost as they head off to go via the cash back sites, or get a discount from a voucher site?
I guess time will tell but I certainly be watching with interest and I might just pitch in my ukcoupons.com site in to the mix, after all the last design is sitting complete in our website design area just needs some programming bits and bobs and a member of staff to run it, only problem I have is I like to enter fair level playing fields and won’t stand to be up against someone who is cookie stuffing as basically when you do that your cheating the Merchants, fellow Affiliates and the industry as a whole.