Voucher Code Sites Suck – And We’re Gonna Fix That

A Guy Writing At His Laptop With The Text 'Voucher Code Sites Suck; And We're Gonna Fix That.'

Why bettervouchers.comWhy do we do what we do? Does the world need, yet another, Voucher code or deals site? I believe so, and I’ll explain. Just bear with me as I go through all of my frustrations:

  • Deals that aren’t really deals
  • The problem with communities
  • No fee = no voucher
  • Lack of transparency; some might even call it censorship

In order to understand my frustration with the voucher codes and deals sites, you need to understand how they work. Typically, every time you click a link to any deal or offer on the site and make a purchase, the Voucher code site gets paid a commission.

The reasons Voucher Code sites are bad

Problem: Deals that aren’t deals

Have you looked for a voucher only to get to a voucher site that shows you a rubbish offer? Have a look at these 2 “Deals” offering you Free Delivery to Store and Free Click and Collect on Orders from Voucher Cloud.

Two Terrible Voucher Cloud Deals

First of all, it’s 2015, most stores offer Free Click and Collect – that’s not a “Deal”. Second of all, those 2 “Deals” mean the same thing.

Or, have a look at this “Etsy Deal”. How can anyone think that’s a deal? That’s a directory listing, not a deal and I fail to understand how, as a user of voucher code sites that is helpful. If I did a search for Etsy vouchers, it is safe to assume that I know that I can buy and sell unique goods today, right?

An Etsy Deal Which Isn't Really A Deal

So why do they do it? Do they think their users are naive (for lack of a better word)? I don’t think so, or at least I hope not.

First they do it because they can; they send so much business to the stores, that the stores can’t do much about it – object and they might get booted off the site and lose sales. Secondly, and more importantly, they do it for Search Engine Optimisation purposes. The more content they have on their pages, the more Google thinks of them (i.e. shows their pages to more users) and the more users they get, the more sales they drive to the stores.

This is bad for everyone apart from the Voucher code site:

  • You, the user, are wasting your time and not get any savings.
  • The stores end up paying the deals site for sending people to them – when really the deals aren’t deals at all, and the sales they get could have happened without a voucher code site being involved at all!
  • Other Deals sites with good intentions will lose out because the stores will be reluctant to collaborate with them after their horrible experiences. This ultimately means less competition for the big guys and that’s never good for consumers.

Solution: Better Deals that give you at least £10 or 10% OFF

We are Better Vouchers, not “loads of vouchers”. We manually sift through all the voucher codes, deals and offers we find or that are being submitted by the community (thats right, you can submit a deal) and unless it saves you either 10% or £10 or more, we will not even post it.

Problem: Communities

Communities are great. What’s wrong with communities, you ask?

Well, humans are beautiful creatures but putting people with way too much spare time on their hands behind a keyboard is rarely a good idea. At least not in this context.

Let’s have a look on Hot UK Deals:

A Screenshot Of The HotUKDeals Misc Forum Threads

In the Misc section, 2 out of 3 most discussed threads are political (again, for lack of a better word). This is literally when I started writing this post. Chances are that you will find some this posts on any given day.

How is this Deals related? It’s not.

Or have a look at the MoneySavingExpert Forum members. The users with the most comments are mostly users that are participating in thousands of competitions or companies representatives. Are these the people that you want to influence your decision when you’re looking for a good deal?

Solution: Members vote with their wallets

We built BetterVouchers.com so that our users vote with their wallets. In simple terms, the only ranking factors for our Vouchers are the time when they were posted and how many times they have been used. That’s it. No featured listing or other ways for the placements to be manipulated. If a deal is on the front page, it’s because people used it. A lot.

This also leaves no room for any hate. We want to spend our time looking for the best deals for you and not moderating childish comments or self-promotion.

Problem: No Fee – no voucher

So, with these big Voucher sites, unless they get paid there will be no voucher for you. You’d think because they have huge communities that they’d have your best interests at heart, right?

Solution: Post anything that benefits the users

We’re changing that. We allow our users to post any deals they find. We would like very much to earn some money and pay the bills but that isn’t the only thing that drives us. We will post deals to any store, big or small, if that benefits our members.

Problem: Lack of transparency with Deals sites

So a few days ago, I went on Hot UK Deals and asked, how big does a company need to be before a member can post a deal and not be accused of self-promotion. This was a legitimate question since I wanted to find out what constitutes self-promotion and what doesn’t. If I have a normal job(nothing marketing related) at Tesco and post a deal from Tesco, would HUKD consider that self-promotion and ban Tesco from their site? If my local Corner Shop has a good offer and I want to share it because I know that the community would benefit, would I be accused of owning it and promoting it? This would mean that the poor shop would be banned from the site. Who makes these decisions and what are they based on?

My question was simple: “What is HUKD’s definition of self-promotion?” Within minutes, I got a reply with a few links where I could find more information on what is self-promotion and what isn’t which was fine. What bothered me was that they used a very aggressive tone and said: “Please note that this message counts as a formal warning.” and I just don’t think that this is how a company should speak to its clients. See the screenshot below.

HUKD-message-counts-as-a-formal-warning

So I opened another thread, this time asking the Hot UK Deals members how they deal with bad customer service and used my HUKD experience as an example. Having this post deleted by HUKD would be confirmation that they are not as transparent as they want to look and, in my opinion, this questions the whole value of the platform. I am sure I am not the only one that thinks that transparency is a big deal, right? What kind of company would hide a negative comment, instead of replying and either justify their actions or apologise?

HUKD-deal-with-bad-customer-service

 

So now that the post was live, I was waiting for the replies from the community, only the replies never came. I refreshed the page and noticed that my Deal has been marked as spam. How was that spam, I am not too sure since I did not promote anything, nor did I mention any company name. The strange thing was that related topics such as Virgin Media customer service and ASDA Direct customer service nightmare were absolutely ok and not marked as spam.

HUKD-customer-service-comment-spam

 

Not what I had expected from one of the biggest websites in the UK and not cool.

Solution: Transparency

We understand we are not perfect. The biggest challenge we have at the moment is that we don’t have as many stores on our site as we would like to. We are adding stores and vouchers every day but being a small team has limitations. We will not pretend to be a bigger company than we are and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. If there’s something we can do better or if we messed anything up, let us know on Twitter or Facebook. If it’s private and you want to message us directly just go to our Contact Page.

So that’s it. To sum up:

  • We’re getting rid of any ‘deals’ that aren’t really deals by only including vouchers with 10% / £10 or more off
  • We’re trying to create a community of money savers who support each other by focusing on the deals; either by submitting them, or using them to vote them onto our front page.
  • We’re going to post anything that benefits you, regardless of whether we’re paid for it or not.
  • And finally, we’ll be as transparent as we can be and we’ll always respect you.

You’ll see more and more vouchers popping up on Better Vouchers soon, because we’re hard at work manually curating them.

If you think this all sounds great and want to help us on this journey, just share any of our vouchers (or Better Vouchers itself!) with anyone you know who’d love to use them. That, and using any of our vouchers you like the look of, would make us insanely happy.

Feel free to tweet, drop us a comment on our Facebook page or reply us below if you agree (or even disagree, debating is good) with anything you’ve read!

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow!

    Love it – perfect balance between mission statement, manifesto, and ( in a good way ) a rant on the state of play.

    Best of luck – you may have a small team now, but it looks like you are building something on strong foundations!

  2. A. Moore says

    I wholeheartedly agree with your manifesto. Voucher deal sites are so frustrating when most of the deals are actually not deals at all and can make trawling through them very much a waste of time – and time is money after all… I look forward to finding great deals through your site and wish you luck. You will certainly be my first port of call in future!

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