How do these websites generate income?
May 4, 2012 11:40 AM   Subscribe

How do these websites generate income?

I have often wondered how these sites make money. Any thoughts/ speculations/ educated guesses on their business models are welcome.

posted by MiggySawdust to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Referrer links (i.e., commissions), in bulk.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:42 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

As the good Admiral intimates, the links they provide to the products on offer also identify them to the vendors as affiliates, which entitles them to a small percentage of any sales generated by the links.

Hard to believe that much money is made this way, but their continued existence is proof that it generates enough.
posted by DandyRandy at 11:45 AM on May 4, 2012

Pricewatch has ads down the right-hand side. I believe they also have a 'featured' aspect where the retailer pays for preferred position (logos, additional information, quicker price updates, etc.) I have been using Pricewatch for quite a while, and I don't think I've ever seen an affiliate-looking URL before, but they may do it only in come cases.

Dealnews also has Google Ads, too. They do pass some affiliate-looking informatino in their links as well.

Both sites used an outlink tracker, so they can see who clicks outwardly from their site, so it may be possible that they're keeping track so that they can bill the retailer for sending the traffic their way.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:48 AM on May 4, 2012

Thanks for the input. Any idea on the amount that is paid out? I figure it must be a small fraction of a penny!
posted by MiggySawdust at 11:49 AM on May 4, 2012

I can't speak to pricewatch, but dealnews works directly with many of the stores it links to. From the dealnews About page: "At dealnews, we do not claim to work without influence of advertisers. For example, it is critical that we work with our advertisers to craft deals for our readers." However, it does guarantee that "We list the best deals period, regardless of our relationship with the seller." and "We never list a higher price from another store just because it is an advertiser."

So in some cases dealnews is essentially running ordinary advertisements, just ones that have been vetted for accuracy by dealnews.
posted by jedicus at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2012

For Amazon affiliates, they get between 4% and 15% of the item purchase cost.
My friend built a small 'safe for kids' shopping site that linked to amazon products. It was low volume but he was easily making a couple hundred a month very soon.
posted by jacalata at 11:52 AM on May 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

Affiliate money is a numbers game -- my paltry, small websites with only a few thousands of visitors a day brings in a couple hundred dollars in Amazon and EBay affiliate money a month. If I had a website the size of Dealnews or Pricewatch and was using affiliate links for everything, I'd be living very nicely now. That fraction of a penny per click adds up when you've got millions of clicks a day going down.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:53 AM on May 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

The other thing is is some affiliate programs reward you if the user buys anything at the site within a certain timeframe, not just a particular item in question. So, for example, if I link to a DVD and you click through and don't buy the DVD, but then remember you need to buy that new book you want, I may still get a commission on the book just for driving you to that site. That's why on some sites you'll see ads to "funny" or outrageous items no one will actually buy, but aside from the amusement value, it puts that cookie in place.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:27 PM on May 4, 2012

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