What are the top coupon sites online? What I believe to be the three top coupon sites are listed below. I also discuss the characteristics of a good coupon site and discuss the differences with deal sites.
First of all, what makes a coupon site worth using?
I would submit that there are various factors. Ease of use is definitely one of them. In other words are you able to find exactly what you are looking for, easily and quickly. Or are you distracted by too much going on and have a hard time finding what you want? If you are able to easily find what you need then kudos you have passed round one.
Pages tailored to your search for a coupon? Is the page you are looking at, that is suppose to provide you with a coupon, actually giving you a coupon. The deals should be listed and they should show you the coupon itself. Be wary of those that force you to click a link, or hide the coupon code so you must click the link. Yes these sites make money off of affiliate deals when someone purchases however they should not steer you into clicking a link.
Do people like it? A good site will allow social interaction. There should be the ability for anyone to easily leave a comment, read comments, and engage in the discussion. Also a voting capability is necessary. Everyone should have a chance to vote on whether a deal is good or not. Sometimes a vote down is not for the deal itself being bad but possibly the deal has ended either because the last day of redemption has passed or because there was a limitation on the number of redemptions. It is critical to use the social community of users like you and I to allow for feedback or we would never have the most up to date information. When there are literally tens of thousands of stores it can only be updated if consumers provide feedback.
Is it free? They should be, and the best deal sites are free. Why should they be free? It is because of their business model. The model is primarily transactional based. This means that they are paid, or generate revenue, when they send a person to the retailers site and that individual ultimately purchases something. There are other forms of advertising revenue however that is the lion share of it.
So what are the best coupon sites?
There are three coupon sites that I consider to be the best: Retailmenot.com, CouponSwapper.com, and FatWallet.com. Each of these has characteristics of a good coupon site. To get an idea of what each coupon page looks like, you can see a GoDaddy coupon page here at CouponSwapper, RetailMeNot, and FatWallet. You can compare the layout of each.
What About All the Rest of the Coupon or Deal Sites?
There are many deal sites out there, particularly those like Groupon. These have an entirely different business model. Their idea is to find deals and send out to their user base. Therefore these may or may not be things you are looking for. That is different from a site that has deals from various retailers and allows you to find what you need. The Groupon idea was that advertisers, the retailers, would be willing to give a discount but usually only for a limited number of purchases or for a limited time. There are similar to Groupon such as Zulily which has deals but in a specific niche which is mother and child related.
* Full disclosure: I am involved with CouponSwapper.