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The Founding of RetailMeNot

 
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Join Date: January 10th, 2014
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The Founding of RetailMeNot

Posted this in the wrong place earlier...

This thread is a really interesting look at the founding days of Retailmenot. 'bclark' is Bevin Clark one of the co-founders. Some of things he mentions are amusing in light of the continuing coupon controversy and the fact that retailmenot is a public company (they don't even mention the founders on their wikipedia page):

TLDL: Here are some of the most amusing points:
[1]we all thought Bevin would get in trouble for posting unauthorized coupons
[2] Bevin knew the unauthorized postings would get retailers upset
[3] He was trying to create affiliate feeds one at a time and didn't how to get a coupon affiliate feed
[4] we were telling him to find a way to remove onetime coupons
[5] other affiliates were already upset that he was posting their exclusive coupons
[6]someone even said: "If you want a long term business plan you can't have a free for all and piss off other affiliates." [boy were we wrong about that!]
[7] also: "Any good affiliate gets to know their merchants. You don't just post stuff and not know how they work."
[8] there's another thread Bevin's on where he can't get into victoria secret's program so he resolves to send their traffic to competitors
[9] MY EDITORIAL COMMENT: you can see from the beginning there was little concern from retailmenot about driving quality affiliate traffic to merchants, but hey he's rich now unlike poor ethical Andy also mentioned in the thread (actually don't know how well Andy is doing these days, but I really hope he's doing great

click here for the original thread: retailmenot history
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And the purpose of these posts?
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  #3  
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Overall, this is another warning to retailers who have coupon sites in their program - dig deep into the data and cut out the parasites. Retailmenot had no concern from the beginning for the retailers or for the retailer's customers.

Also thought the candor of Retailmenot's founder was interesting especially in regards to what little concern he had for the more 'ethical' affiliates and the retailers. It's also interesting what a professional PR team is able to do to clean up a company's image - thought I'd give them more work as they try to suppress this info again ;-)

This company is crazy successful - also you may have noticed that now coupons.com and ebates.com are also doing IPOs to capialize on the investor interest, but from the beginning the company did things like steal coupons and make toolbars etc, that many affiliates for ethical reasons refrained from doing. Frankly, I find they successes today highly irritating given their past behavior.
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  #4  
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This isn't news, been discussed ad nauseam - not saying there aren't merchants who aren't aware of how they were and still are.

The many merchants who have gone to bed with them are not likely to change their minds but keep turning a blind eye. Money is money to them. Competitors to these merchants will follow suit. 1,000 affiliates can threaten to drop those merchants and it wouldn't make these merchants even blink - that's how much RMN makes them.

Just was curious as to why you brought this back to the forefront - guess it was time.

Have a great weekend...
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I wondered also. They were just awarded "Affiliate of the Year" at ASW.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoyUnltd View Post
I wondered also. They were just awarded "Affiliate of the Year" at ASW.
Follow the money. Networks are making lots of money off of coupon sites so they are basically in on it too. There was a talk at a conference in January by the pepperjam president who showed a graph of how much revenue was associated with coupon and deal 'parasites' (I didn't come up with this term so my apologies - but it is a good one) and it was more than 50% of their revenue and growing faster than any other affiliate category. These awards are manufactured to sustain their business, no intrinsic credibility beyond that. Retailmenot won the award because they generate the most commissions of any affiliate across every network. They do this because they rank #1 in SEO for almost every retailer's 'brand + coupon' term (due to some strange blindspot of Google's to their black hat SEO practices) not because they do anything useful for merchants. Lots of research from merchants on this topic:

Coupon Sites Could Be Stealing Your Affiliate Commissions | Blue Acorn

Are Coupon Code Sites Cannibalizing Your Affiliate Sales?

Stay Away From Coupon Affiliates | Tips For Affiliate Marketing

Is Affiliate Marketing Dead? » Practical Ecommerce

Marketing Technology - Why Wine Enthusiast stopped paying coupon sites a commission - Internet Retailer

The big, ugly affiliate marketing scam | VentureBeat | Business | by Ruslan Kogan

5 Huge Mistakes with Coupons for Affiliate Programs and Merchants - Adam Riemer Marketing
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how does retailmenot.com get so many coupons? trustful88 Couponer's Corner 29 June 27th, 2010 09:38 PM

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