As an affiliate manager for consumer products I can see in the statistics of my affiliate programs which kind of websites make the most sales and commissions. The top earners are always these two kind of discount websites: Coupon and cash-back sites.
All the other kind of sites that have targeted affiliate products for their content still make sales, which can monetize the site, but not really produce an income for the site owner. Affiliates who are using paid traffic can also make a good income, but it is not a method the average website owner uses.
What are coupon and cash-back sites?
A coupon site is a site loaded with discount coupon codes that buyers can use to get 10-20-30% off or even more on products. A cash-back site is a membership site with coupons where you get a percent of your buy placed into your account. This last kind of website is very popular with frequent online buyers as not only they get a discount with the coupon they use, but also a cash-back on the purchase. There is a variant of the cash-back discount websites where all or part of the cash-back money is going to a cause.
Why are coupon and cash-back discount websites successful?
They are successful because when people visit these sites, they already are in buying mode. Smart online buyers with a product in mind they want to acquire will make a Google search like: “silver necklace coupon” or “Jewelry coupon”. The coupon site that is ranking well for the keyword searched will likely make the sale. Those who are cash-back members will directly go to the site before purchasing.
How to build a coupon site?
There are coupon scripts that you can buy and install on your server. What you need next is to apply as an affiliate to the merchants with coupons in one or several networks like ShareAsale, Commission Junction and LinkShare and pull a coupon data-feed from your affiliate interface. Then, you import the data-feed to your discount websites… et voilà!
Is that easy to operate?
Not really. There are many issues that you need to address such as cleaning the data-feed before you use it. Some merchants have excellent data-feeds in place with images, short and long descriptions, prices, product codes, etc… and some others have many issues that you can see when you open your .csv data-feed in Excel. All these issues have to be corrected in the data-feed before you import it to your discount websites. And if you merge the data-feeds of different networks, it becomes even more difficult.
Is that easy to update?
It is very time consuming. Some coupons will expire, or just don’t work. Some merchants will close their affiliate program or stop providing new coupons, while new merchant will need to be added. You can pull a new data-feed every week for example to be up-to-date, but you still will have to check and correct the feed… and if you have 10,000 products in it, you can imagine! It can turn yourdiscount websites into a nightmare….
What is the solution?
The solution is to use one of the available coupon services online. They have their own up-to-date data-feed made with the different merchants’ data-feed. They do all the hard work of sorting, correcting, updating coupons for you in the feed and all you have to do is to import the feed. The problem is that it is not cheap, mostly starting at $250 per month. If you really want a web business of this kind this is the way to go.