For actual coupon codes, use RetailMeNot

The other night, I got a coupon over email for a product I’ve been meaning to buy (direct from the company). I took advantage of the offer and picked out a completely customized product ready to ship, entered the coupon code but the discount didn’t work. It was midnight on a Sunday, and there was no chance I was getting any customer support. I still really wanted the item, so I went looking online for similar coupons (maybe mine expired?). I searched Google for [$Company_Name coupon code].

What I found was a bunch of horrible results thanks to the search engine gaming (SEO) industry. The first result was unhelpful, hard to read, and basically tried to get me to sign up for various discount services (not really coupons at all) before they would show me anything, while the remaining results on the top 10 page were simply affiliates of the first page, basically shell sites trying to get you to the first site to sign up for discounts (even less like coupons). I didn’t continue paging through worthless results.

Then I remembered the BugMeNot people did a coupon site last year, so I went to bugmenot to find it and found RetailMeNot. The experience was night and day. A quick search for the product I was buying turned up half a dozen coupons including the one I was trying. It also lets you quickly vote on which ones worked and didn’t work, and reported how successful each coupon was (they sorted by success rate, so the best stuff was at the top). Thanks to the site, I got to help others and report that my coupon code didn’t work and I tried a similar one that did end up working. The RetailMeNot site is also easy to read and navigate, letting you get in and right out as quickly as possible. The other “coupon code” sites seemed more interested in acting like quicksand and trapping you into their site.

I have less and less time for things and a lower tolerance for hassles as I get older and I have to say both bugmenot and retailmenot offer handy ways to save a little time and money. I don’t know how either site makes any money, or if that’s even a goal, but I do hope they stick around and keep doing what they’re doing.