Why we don't like coupon sites

Why we don't like coupon sites

Every so often, we discover one of our discount codes on some coupon site or another.

Now, we love that enthusiastic customers, affiliate partners or others want to share a good deal with as many people as possible. And in most cases, we actively encourage that.

We want you to share your discount code in social media, on your blog, by email, by shouting it from the rooftops, sharing it on the playground, or painting it with giant letters on the side of your house, if that's your thing. 

Coupon sites, however, are different. Your mileage may vary, but as far as we're concerned, they add little or no value.

We find that they:

  • cheapen our products and discounts
  • divert traffic and earnings away from hard-working affiliate partners
  • and siphon off our marketing budget. 

Now, this may require a bit of explanation…

Coupon sites cheapen our products

At Ella's Wool, we believe our products are priced correctly from the start. That's why we practically never have sales events at Ella's Wool, even on Black Friday. Frequently lowering the price for arbitrary reasons sends a message that our products aren't actually worth what we're charging.

For much the same reason, we don't think discount codes should be too easy to come by. They should primarily be shared in a context that makes sense.

We give discount codes and commissions to partners who help us spread the word. Those codes are an invitation to try us out, and are primarily intended to appear next to write-ups, reviews, or beautiful photos of our product, that puts it in context.

In return, as long as the codes aren't easy to come by, they help increase the value of the content for our partners and their audience.

Coupon sites divert the rewards

As far as we can tell, no one has ever actually learned about Ella's Wool from a coupon site.

They've heard about it from someone on social media or a blog they follow; someone who has actually tried the product, and shared their experience with others.

And those are the ambassadors we want to reward.

If someone simply enters "Ella's Wool discount" into Google, we don't want them to find a coupon site that is indifferent to what we sell. Unfortunately, those sites dominate the search results – drowning out all the great reviews and posts we would like to see.

And instead of a hard-working affiliate being rewarded for promoting Ella's Wool, the coupon site gets the traffic, and an arbitrary person gets the commission. That's not fair.

Ideally, we hope customers find back to the person who told them about Ella's Wool in the first place. If that doesn't happen, we'd like to reward someone else who likes, recommends and actively promotes our products.

They siphon off our marketing budget

Last, but no least, there's a very real business side to this.

Discounts and commissions are a quite expensive form of marketing. If they don't bring in any new business – and coupon sites typically only bring in people who have already filled their shopping cart – then we need to spend those marketing dollars differently.

We cancel stray codes

That's why we're no fans of coupon sites – or worse, automated browser extensions that automatically enter coupon codes.

To be fair, they may have some minor benefits, but those are outweighed by the disadvantages – at least to us.

We may change our minds on this in the future, but for now our policy is:

  • Affiliate partners are currently not allowed to distribute their coupons to coupon sites. 
  • When we discover that particular discount codes have made it onto coupon sites, we cancel those codes and consider issuing a new code to the partners whose codes were compromised.