Ever since Ebay and Amazon were founded, people have flocked to the Internet to find deals. Overnight, the Internet created national and global markets of people, with no previous social or economic ties, looking to buy and sell to each other. For over a decade, the Internet has remained one of the best places for consumers to save money on almost anything, with many of these sites guaranteeing product quality and security of your money.
More recently, collective buying communities have appeared, impacting the way we as a group operate and collectively buy goods and services. The most famous of these sites is Groupon—which Google recently attempted to purchase for $6 billion. Other buying community sites like LivingSocial have seen a fresh injection of capital, with Amazon investing $175 million into the company. The attention and legitimacy these sites have garnered has provided them a lot of positive attention, and highlights the new ways we can think about saving money.
Sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial work by connecting individuals with deals or coupons offered by specific businesses these sites contact. Such coupons can provide a 50-90% discount, and range from restaurants, gym membership, to making your own wine or beer, vacations, or even haircuts. The idea behind group buying is that you agree to purchase a specific coupon offered from an online coupon site. If enough people agree to purchase it, everyone is charged, and the coupon becomes valid. You then print out the coupon, and take it to whoever you bought from. If not enough people are interested in it, the deal is cancelled, as the dealer doesn’t see the benefits of offering it. Deals also have a time-frame for when they can be purchased. When the deal goes through, the online coupon site takes 30-50% of what is paid to the dealer.
You can also increase the odds of a deal going through by posting them on Twitter and Facebook. The added bonus of attracting more buyers is that sites like Groupon will give you a $10 referral bonus for the people you attract, while LivingSocial offers you a free deal on the coupons you successfully promote. At Groupon, coupons are valid for an entire year, so you can buy, collect, and even give away deals. These sites also pride themselves on good customer service, so many encourage suggestions of deals you would like to purchase.
Overall, online coupons are one of the best ways to save money and find fantastic deals. Given the growing popularity of these sites, most visitors will begin to see more and better deals being made available.