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  1. #1
    Member talentcn's Avatar
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    Coupon site is a tough business
    I've started a coupon site with a few tech people's help. I've spent some time applying for affiliate relationships on LS, CJ, GAN, and PJ, and easily got at least half stores/advertisers' approvals on each network. The problems are:
    1. It is hard to manage all the stores in one Excel. GAN and PJ don't even allow me to download the list of stores with URLs to Excel.
    2. I have to manually find and put the trackable link for each store in my Excel.
    3. If they ever change the tracking link, how am I going to know?
    4. Only LS provides automatic link generator, and some networks don't even have deep linking.


    Could anyone help me with the above problems? Are there any solution to each of the above?

    I am so tired. Hope to have your help! Thanks.

  2. #2
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
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    I can certainly agree with your title.

    Managing a coupon site, like many other types of sites, is quite a monumental task indeed. My opinion is that you really need to incorporate a database into your setup. Managing thousands of coupons is much easier when you have them in your table or tables.

    You also need to automate the entire process if adding new coupons as they come available from your merchants through the major networks. Automation of new coupons is relatively easy with the feeds that are setup by the various networks.

    With the rate at which merchants add and expire coupons, you really need an automated approach. I have a a script that runs daily to add the new coupons from SAS, CJ, LS, PJ, Avantlink, and GAN daily. It's very doable with some time and knowledge of PHP/Mysql.

    There are many threads here that discuss the available solutions for coupon affiliates.

  3. #3
    Member talentcn's Avatar
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    Thanks SeymourButts.

    Do you have a good solution to prepare the trackable links for more than two thousand stores across different networks? My site have listed all those stores, and it's daunting to prepare trackable links manually.

    Also, can you help point out those threads you consider good solutions for coupon affiliates?

    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    You really need to build something custom. Some Networks you get your default links via API's, some you'll get via CSV.

    Some Networks don't even label their default links as such, we generally use the CJ 88x31 banner as the default link for a merchant (as an example).

    The most annoying part is merchants that don't keep coupons up to date in their feeds, so you may find a lot of the initial coupons you get will be expired ages ago. In this case there's quite a bit of manual work checking this.

  5. #5
    Member vicjg's Avatar
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    I agree. You gotta build one yourself. I've been a software developer for the last 10 years. I just started a coupon site last week for myself and had to develop a database (SQL), a library of API calls, custom WebForms, and thousands of lines of code already.

    I'd be happy to answer a few questions, to get you started.

  6. #6
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    I too am working on a coupon site and am struggling with how to automate the merchant coupons. Does anyone have a script I can use to automate this ???

  7. #7
    Member vicjg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rblanc
    I too am working on a coupon site and am struggling with how to automate the merchant coupons. Does anyone have a script I can use to automate this ???
    CJ & LS both have pretty decent APIs. If you know some basic c# you can easily dump these right into a database.

  8. #8
    Comfortably Numb John Powell's Avatar
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    Don't forget to develop a plan to get traffic before investing all the time building the site. The competition is pretty awesome if you are counting on organic search. There are lots of tech savvy people that have built automated coupon sites only to find that traffic is a lot harder to get than building the site.

    Study your competition and see if you can build something different that would set you apart and cause people to link to you. I did a good job building my coupon site from a technical view, but a poor job of marketing it.


  9. #9
    Member vicjg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Powell
    ... There are lots of tech savvy people that have built automated coupon sites only to find that traffic is a lot harder to get than building the site.

    ... I did a good job building my coupon site from a technical view, but a poor job of marketing it.
    I could have written the exact same thing. The technical part is easy, I put up a site w/ 1000 merchants, wrote code to update the coupons once a day, made a unique page for each partner, and ....

    Forgot to think about getting traffic!

  10. #10
    Affiliate Manager craigstephen's Avatar
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    hi talentcn, i may not been able to add much lines but would ask you to try SAS, personally i have many affiliates who work exclusively for SAS, have high ranking and conversions too... keep in mind that am a merchant and i am not a part of SAS team in anyways....

    Just a throughfull recommendation.... also they support CSV format to download and store what you required in excel format...

  11. #11
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    Couldn't Agree More, John!
    Quote Originally Posted by John Powell
    Don't forget to develop a plan to get traffic before investing all the time building the site. The competition is pretty awesome if you are counting on organic search. There are lots of tech savvy people that have built automated coupon sites only to find that traffic is a lot harder to get than building the site.

    Study your competition and see if you can build something different that would set you apart and cause people to link to you. I did a good job building my coupon site from a technical view, but a poor job of marketing it.
    This is the best piece of advice I have read on this topic. Frankly, I find myself in the middle of this issue right now. About 2 years ago I wanted to start a coupons site. I saved and saved. I also hired several programmers that were not what they portrayed themselves as (but, that is another discussion). I finally got the site launched last month. It is found at DealTattle.com. But, here is my issue... I painstakingly built this site. But, I do not have traffic. I also do not get accepted for the "better" merchants because I don't have the traffic. So, I need traffic to get better merchants... but, merchants and "deep linking" (organic SEO) to get traffic.

    Now, because of cost overruns and my job downturn (which funded this), I don't have much $$ for SEM. SO, I echo these comments....

  12. #12
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    Which script you are using?
    Quote Originally Posted by sherm50599 View Post
    This is the best piece of advice I have read on this topic. Frankly, I find myself in the middle of this issue right now. About 2 years ago I wanted to start a coupons site. I saved and saved. I also hired several programmers that were not what they portrayed themselves as (but, that is another discussion). I finally got the site launched last month. It is found at DealTattle.com. But, here is my issue... I painstakingly built this site. But, I do not have traffic. I also do not get accepted for the "better" merchants because I don't have the traffic. So, I need traffic to get better merchants... but, merchants and "deep linking" (organic SEO) to get traffic.

    Now, because of cost overruns and my job downturn (which funded this), I don't have much $$ for SEM. SO, I echo these comments....

  13. #13
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    I think creating a one stop coupon shop is insanity in todays environment. Only coupon sites I target now are product names, easier to rank for and heck of a lot easier to manage.

  14. #14
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    Handling and maintaining a good coupon site is best left for people who are very careful in doing work, it can be very tough and boring for people to maintain a coupon site.

  15. #15
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    Like many others I started in AM with a coupons website. I did spent couple of months getting the automation up and running and when I had coupon feeds coming from every direction and getting posted to my website, then I realized I didnt have enough organic traffic to get any reward. My first year, I made about $200 from the coupons site but I know I spent alot more in my time and other expenses. Look at the bids for 'overstock coupons' - it runs more than $1 for first page impression on google and near holidays it is much higher. Coupon business in tough and as others have said building a generic coupons website may not be worth your time. Find a niche and build on it keeping coupons part of your offering but it shouldnt be the only thing.

  16. #16
    Newbie Sunnnee's Avatar
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    Coupon Site work
    I have my own Coupon Site and I spend about 2-3 hours a day on it updating and maintaining it. It's something that I chose to do and I actually love it. In regards to traffic, do your home work.

    My costs are very low because I only pay hosting fees. No developers involved and I do my own marketing and website updates. I didn't want a website where I had to depend on the developer to tweek this or tweek that and put his hand out to get paid.

    Get creative on how you get the word out about your business. Open your mouth and be your own advertiser. People nowadays are always looking for a bargain and saving money.

    Good luck!

  17. #17
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    Hello sherm50599,

    Wow, very impressed by your site dealtattle.com. If that doesn't drive traffic, I don't know what will.

    Has it been improving? Were you able to have some success?

    Best,
    Emilio
    Last edited by emilioolivares; August 5th, 2010 at 01:48 PM.

  18. #18
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    Looks like DealTattle.com is hitting up some traffic. I just checked and I like what I saw. It has an Alexa Traffic of below 1 million nad yes...lots of coupon codes!

  19. #19
    Newbie zire's Avatar
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    dealtattle.com, Nice site.. I like the lay out and design.

    I can see how it would be very hard to do the seo and get organic traffic with something like that, not to mention the competition. Maybe if you can get creative and find some sly marketing angles.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Many of you have brought up the topic of a landing page for coupons and in my case it has some merit. Everyday I get tons of email from merchants with their current coupons. By the time I get to them some are outdated. Is it not easier for a merchant to have a page titled "Current Coupons"? I could then place a link over to this page and they can keep it updated as needed. Is there something I am missing with this suggestion?

  21. #21
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    A few merchants offer something like that, but not many. It's certainly a good option.

    One thing I always try to stress with merchants is to extend their couponing and promotional efforts to be usable for non-coupon affiliates. This can be done through dynamically updated banners, dynamic creatives, widgets, landing pages, etc.
    Michael Coley
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     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador mailman's Avatar
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    Michael. I have looked at your site many times and without doubt it's very intensive. How much time do you spend daily updating it? It is one of the best coupon sites I have come across!

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Vrindavan's Avatar
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    >> One thing I always try to stress with merchants is to extend their couponing and promotional efforts to be usable for non-coupon affiliates. This can be done through dynamically updated banners, dynamic creatives, widgets, landing pages, etc.



    agree. But it would be easier for merchants if the network offer such tool first.

    1. The best affiliate network for coupon integration is Avantlink. I don't see a close match yet.
    2. dynamically updated coupon text links (Only Avantlink and Tradedoubler(UK) do it better than all other networks)
    3. dynamically updated non-animated coupon code banners
    4. use goldencan 3rd party service, affiliates have to share traffic/commission with goldencan. And Goldencan coupons are not managed very well.
    Last edited by Vrindavan; November 12th, 2010 at 08:47 PM.

  24. #24
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    Which service do you recommend to help me with my coupons staying updated automatically??

    using FMTC or BuildACouponSite.com or couponfeed.net or coupon press ??

    any help would be much apprecaited...
    Last edited by 2busy; December 1st, 2010 at 03:18 PM. Reason: Unlinked URL

  25. #25
    Affiliate Network Rep Commission Factory's Avatar
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    I would recommend couponfeed.net. In terms of managing a coupon site, automation is key. I mean when you have thousands of stores there is no other way to do it. You should try and look for a network that offers coupon feeds or API. This has certainly been a focus while we are developing.

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