I started sharing deals and coupons I found online with friends and family back in 1998. I called the website that I made “My Shopping Bookmarks”. My friends and family then shared the website with their friends and family and so on, and my little “hobby” website grew to include the whole nation pretty fast. I'm proud to say that ShoppingBookmarks.com was one of the first coupon and deals websites on the internet. In 2001, I was able to quit my “day job” and work in my pajamas full-time maintaining my website by adding coupons and deals daily.
If you are wondering how I got paid… it was the wonderful (new and exciting) world of affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.
I would explain to people what I do for a living by telling people that if they planned to shop at XYZ (with XYZ equaling any name brand store online), they should come to my website first to get a coupon code for a percentage off or free shipping. That way they would save money on their purchase by shopping through my links, and I would earn a commission for their sale from XYZ in return. It was a win-win situation for everyone!
I remained a mom-pop show for many years (although I got rid of the “pop” but did hire different people to help me add coupons and deals), but every year, my competition grew. And then coupon and deals sites starting offering “cash back” to incentivize users to shop through them. Basically, they give back a part of the commissions they earn with the users. I couldn't blame my loyal visitors for wanting to shop elsewhere since I didn't have the technology to compete with large venture-backed corporations.
So I diversified and started blogs in various niches of interests, still monetizing the blogs with affiliate marketing techniques. I always tell anyone that wants to start to a blog to pick a topic that they are passion about and start writing about something that make you happy. For instance, I write about shoes and my preemie twins.
When I briefly partnered with Billaway, Shopping Bookmarks was able to offer cash back to users. But was it the best cashback site out there? Heck, no. There are several others that have years of loyal user experience that I felt it was too late to jump into the cash back arena. And I personally “shop around” when I make a purchase to see which cashback site will offer me the most cash back. I invite you to do the same with these cashback sites. I put these top 5 best cashback sites in alphabetical order to not show favoritism of one over the other.
1. Dealspotr – This newer site is the Wikipedia of deals and actually pays you to share coupon codes and deals. It's the only sites that I know of that pays users to share deals! You do have to “validate” that the offer that you are adding is legitimate, which may be kind of a pain for the submitter, but it is a safety measure so people don't add fake deals to get paid. It's also nice for the shoppers on the site to know that all of the deals posted are valid. I like how users have their own personal feed of deals where you can subscribe to specific topics and/or brands to see a curated daily feed of deals personalized just for you.
Since launching one year ago, Dealspotr has saved users over $15 MILLION dollars. That's a lot of moolah! They currently have over 2 million shoppers and are one of the fastest growing deal websites out there.
2. Ebates – You've probably seen TV commercials for Ebates on how to earn “rebates” by shopping online. Ebates has bought out several other smaller cash back websites.
3. MyPoints – This was the very first “cash back” program I ever signed up. I cashed in many points for free gift cards in the early years.
4. Sunshine Rewards – My friend, Tricia Meyer, owns this website. Her “mom-pop shop” competes well with the big boys!
5. Top Cash Back – They give 100% of the commissions earned back to the users. Their parent site is one of the largest cash back sites in the UK.
6 (Bonus). Dollar Dig – Get $2.50 free in your account for signing up, plus they will donate their profits to charity!
What is your favorite cash back website?