View Poll Results: Does this make the coupon site unethical?

Voters
20. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes the site is unethical

    17 85.00%
  • No the site is not unethical

    3 15.00%
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 29th, 2005
    Posts
    2,511
    Unethical Coupon Site?
    If a coupon site has a “Click here for coupon code” (or any similar wording) and when the visitor clicks on the button expecting to see the coupon code a new window opens up and the coupon site sets their own cookie. Does this make the coupon site unethical?
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  2. #2
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,955
    Why direct this at just coupon sites? How about ANY site that has a link that suggests that they have more information, but then opens to the merchant's site?
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.


  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    I certainly think so, because that's not the user's intent. It's essentially a deceptive click.

    I believe most networks allow it, but most networks care more about their bottom line than ethics.

    I also find it a bad user experience to HIDE the coupon codes in that way. As a shopper, many times when I look on a coupon site, there are coupon codes I've already tried. I like to SEE all of the codes so I can see if there are better ones that I haven't tried.

    Hiding the coupon codes also hides from merchant compliance regarding unauthorized coupon codes.

    If I were a merchant with an affiliate program, I wouldn't work with coupon sites that followed this practice.

    FWIW, I've taken a stand against this before, and lost (what I considered at the time to be) a good friend in the industry over it, although I called out the practice, and not him individually.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     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


  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 29th, 2005
    Posts
    2,511
    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    Why direct this at just coupon sites? How about ANY site that has a link that suggests that they have more information, but then opens to the merchant's site?
    Because my question is about coupons, and the fact that a lot of coupon sites hide the coupon code and open another windows via an affiliate link when the visitors clicks to "See" the coupon code.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  5. #5
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 19th, 2006
    Location
    The Windy City
    Posts
    4,140
    In the past couple of years I've tried to keep an open mind about coupon sites, mainly because I know that there are ABW members that I consider highly ethical that also own coupon sites.

    That being said, I recently made several high end purchases on line and searched for coupons to see if I could save a few dollars. I searched several coupon sites and my experiences was pretty much the same at ALL of them. They all claimed to have coupons, they all forced me to click to reveal the coupon code and there were more phoney, expired and invalid coupons than valid ones. My searches included airfare, hotels, amusement park tickets and a new smartphone along with a few articles of clothing.

    This experience certainly opened my eyes. I visited 15 to 20 of the top coupon sites according to the big G and all of them were more than willing to set a cookie and lay claim to a sale regardless of whether they actually aided in the sale or not. I became so enraged that I not only cleared all of the cookies on my system I began using one system to search and another to make purchases.

    So do I feel that all coupon sites are dishonest? All is seldom the right answer, however, I feel that ALL of the sites that I visited were dishonest and added zero value value to me as a consumer or to the merchants that they represented.

    -rematt
    Last edited by rematt; July 2nd, 2014 at 09:58 AM.
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon


  6. #6
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 24th, 2005
    Posts
    6,918
    Quote Originally Posted by kse View Post
    If a coupon site has a “Click here for coupon code” (or any similar wording) and when the visitor clicks on the button expecting to see the coupon code a new window opens up and the coupon site sets their own cookie. Does this make the coupon site unethical?
    I say yes. In the UK, this is not allowed and is enforced.

    What if the affiliate displays the coupon, visitor can easily scribble it down or remember it - However, if they follow the instructions to: "Click to Copy and Visit Merchant" the coupon code is copied to their clipboard AND opens the merchant in a new window.

    Does THAT make an affiliate "unethical"?
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  7. Thanks From:
    kse

  8. #7
    ABW Ambassador kse's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 29th, 2005
    Posts
    2,511
    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    I say yes. In the UK, this is not allowed and is enforced.

    What if the affiliate displays the coupon, visitor can easily scribble it down or remember it - However, if they follow the instructions to: "Click to Copy and Visit Merchant" the coupon code is copied to their clipboard AND opens the merchant in a new window.

    Does THAT make an affiliate "unethical"?
    Good question, maybe we can do another poll/thread asking that very question.
    MERCHANTS: Start showing your coupons directly on your site, that way your shoppers will stop leaving your site looking for them!! If not then remove your Coupon Box!!

  9. #8
    The Seal of Aproval rematt's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 19th, 2006
    Location
    The Windy City
    Posts
    4,140
    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    What if the affiliate displays the coupon, visitor can easily scribble it down or remember it - However, if they follow the instructions to: "Click to Copy and Visit Merchant" the coupon code is copied to their clipboard AND opens the merchant in a new window.

    Does THAT make an affiliate "unethical"?
    I'd say no. As long as the affiliate delivers what is promised I have no problem with them opening a new window. There isn't an outside link on any of my sites that don't open a new window to the merchant.

    What I have a problem with are the obvious deceptions in order to get a consumer to click their links. At least one site that I visited went as far as showing the number of SUCCESSFUL users of a particular coupon during the previous 24 hour period. After clicking the link I could see that the coupon had expired more than 2 years ago which meant that the coupon sites only intention was deception for the sole purpose of setting a cookie. These are the sites that merchants should ban.

    The typical user doesn't know what just happened when they clicked the sites link, but as affiliates we are painfully aware and it pisses me off that these scumbags get away with this crap time and time again. And it really pisses me off to think that they impact the income of honest affiliates.

    I know that there are ethical coupon sites that provide real value. Unfortunately they are outnumbered by sites that find that it's easier (and possibly more lucrative) to scam then run a legitimate business.

    I stopped working with merchants that allowed toolbars a few years ago and now I'm seriously considering dropping merchants that allow coupon sites.

    -rematt
    "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Richard Nixon

  10. Thanks From:

  11. #9
    ABW Ambassador purplebear's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    3,960
    Definitely feel it is unethical kse and sadly as rematt said an awful lot of the "coupon" sites do it.

    rematt said:
    "I know that there are ethical coupon sites that provide real value. Unfortunately they are outnumbered by sites that find that it's easier (and possibly more lucrative) to scam then run a legitimate business."

    Agree completely. Sadly think the number of ethical coupon sites is a very small number and probably getting even smaller. The ethical coupon sites are paying for the bad behavior by the others as well since many programs now give a lower commission to those sites considered coupon sites. 99% of my affiliate managers consider me a "content" site but are a few that put me in the "coupons" and lower the commission.

    Has always been posts since as long as I've been here that weren't exactly kind words directed towards coupon sites. used to annoy me and felt I had to defend myself til I made some searches on my own and realized just how many of the coupon sites were doing this kind of behavior and worse. Still don't feel it's right to lump all coupon sites together but definitely understand the frustration by some towards them.

    Not only are the ethical coupon sites outnumbered many of them rank much lower than those that aren't ethical.

    rematt also said:
    "The typical user doesn't know what just happened when they clicked the sites link, but as affiliates we are painfully aware and it pisses me off that these scumbags get away with this crap time and time again. And it really pisses me off to think that they impact the income of honest affiliates."

    Agree that the typical user doesn't know what happened and what reaaalllly annoys me is around the holidays when the tv hosts of shows tell their viewers how wonderful some of those unethical coupon sites are to shop at.

    I passed on commenting once since I knew I'd start babbling on the subject lol Don't wanna sound like the whiny hour lol but if am being honest with myself. yeap feel like what rematt said:

    "but as affiliates we are painfully aware and it pisses me off that these scumbags get away with this crap time and time again. And it really pisses me off to think that they impact the income of honest affiliates.""

    Saw the poll numbers and feels sad that there are two members who don't feel is unethical Can understand tho. Said I made searches on my own to look at different coupon sites and was an eye opener to me years ago to find one of those doing this behavior was a fellow member who was held in high regard at the time I guess. When he talked ethics it definitely seemed hypocritical to me, tho. Anyway, we're all entitled to our opinions and guess we just don't all agree on what's considered ethical and what's not.
    Last edited by purplebear; July 2nd, 2014 at 02:25 PM. Reason: looked up and saw poll numbers

  12. Thanks From:

  13. #10
    Certified Affiliate Manager sunshiner's Avatar
    Join Date
    July 12th, 2007
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    705
    I for one do not like that as I find most of those coupons are expired or not even real. Also, they use coupons that are exclusive to other sites and hide them so they aren't found, which to me, is a huge mistake because when I find that, they'll have me on their tail immediately.

    I also don't like them listing all the expired coupons lower on the page. Once expired, they need to go. Period.
    Cindy Ballard, VP of Operations, Greg Hoffman Consulting
    Follow Me on Twitter @cingroomer
    My blog, www.oldfartlife.com

  14. Thanks From:

  15. #11
    ABW Ambassador 2busy's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Location
    Tropical Mountaintop
    Posts
    5,636
    When did cookie stuffing become legal? I thought it was considered a form of wire fraud? I seem to recall a very big case brought by ebay.. Oh, wait..those were "hidden" forced clicks. What's the difference if you are forced to "Click to reveal"?

    For the record, I don't think that all Coupon sites are unethical crooks who exist to stuff and steal, many of them have carefully developed a following - but the practice is widespread as rematt's exercise shows and anyone who offers coupons knows it. When 13,000,000 results turn up on a search of merchantname+coupon or brand+coupon I think merchants know it also. Merchants don't seem to mind so long as the bad players are stealing affiliates' commissions because they only look at the bottom line in some cases. When they begin to analyze and see they are paying for their own traffic too, they get outraged and want to boot all coupons from the program. I think it comes down to educating merchants on how to optimize their checkout process and everyone can do well. Coupon sites do bring value to the equation, just not ALL coupon sites.

  16. Thanks From:

  17. #12
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Posts
    2,955
    I wonder why Google keeps some of the biggest "offenders" in the top 3 positions in search? Sunshiner, I'm with you on the expired coupons showing on the bottom of the pages. I never could figure out what was to be gained by doing that.

    And for the record, I don't like the forced click design either - on any site - coupon or content. Or the sites where the window pops open (setting the cookie) when you just hover over a keyword.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  18. #13
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Location
    Mansfield, TX
    Posts
    16,232
    I don't think it matters to Google. They're not stealing from or deceiving Google.

    Sometimes I find value in the expired coupons, because sometimes they do still work.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     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

  19. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    April 19th, 2013
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    154
    I will say it depends. If the button actually hiding a coupon code, that will be okay, but if it is only a link for sale or offer already on that store, I would say it is unethical, because the coupon site forcing the visitor to click on a link without offering what it promise.

  20. Newsletter Signup

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Removing Toolbars & Unethical Coupon Sites
    By melissamcd in forum Unethical Affiliates
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: July 2nd, 2014, 04:15 PM
  2. Coupon affiliates aren't the only unethical affiliates
    By zonerman in forum Midnight Cafe'
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: June 23rd, 2012, 04:03 PM
  3. Great coupon syndication site besides Coupon Cabin?
    By pokerturkey in forum Couponer's Corner
    Replies: 44
    Last Post: March 8th, 2012, 02:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •