Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dealshelve featured in Sin Chew Daily

We were featured in the cover story for Sin Chew Daily print edition dated July 27, 2011. Our special thanks goes to Sin Chew Daily chief editor in CyberWorld section for the coverage.
In case if you missed the print edition, we have posted the digital copy of the news coverage below for your pleasure reading.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Groupon taking legal action on deals aggregator?

Earlier this week, we received a legal notice from the CEO of Groupon Singapore (formerly known as Beeconomic), stating that Dealshelve is displaying their deals in an "unauthorized" manner and legal action will be taken upon us if we do not remove their deals by Wednesday this week.

This bring us to an interesting question. Do daily deal aggregators like Dealshelve and Yipit have the legal right to display information extracted from daily deal sites? It is a common practice for daily deal aggregator to state the provider, i.e. source site, for all the deals that are listed. When a visitor is interested in a particular deal, there is usually a "find out more" button that will lead the visitor directly to the deal page on the source site itself.

Information collected by daily deal aggregator is readily published by daily deal sites on the Internet for public viewing. Anyone should be free to read or even share these deals. In fact, it is widely accepted that the key to success for daily deal website is to be able to broadcast their deals to as many people as possible in the shortest possible time. Most deals usually require minimum amount of buyers before they become available so sites, i.e. daily deal aggregators, that promote the deals can certainly help! Daily deal site that restricts sharing and publicity of their deals is unlikely to reach broader audience than they would have otherwise and most probably they also can't provide cheaper deals for the lack of mass buyers.

If referring and sharing information from other sites is illegal, how should we view the search results from Google or Yahoo? Should they be removed as well? If restriction in sharing becomes a trend, what can we get from the Internet as a whole? One of our principles is to be able to serve our users with deals from as many daily deal sites as possible so that they get to choose the one that they like the most. In this view, we humbly hope Groupon Singapore will be able to reconsider their request and withdraw the legal action against Dealshelve.

See also views on this matter at other news sites:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tips for Online Group Buying

Group buying is a relatively new concept on the internet and many people are purchasing for the first time. I would like to share a few tips to fellow group buyers wannabe because buying deals online does not always give you a happy ending.

Here are a few simple tips from Dealshelve:
  1. Is it really a good deal? - Group buying sites like Groupon takes half of the amount you pay for the deal, so the merchants do not earn much (or they are actually losing money), they just offer the deal for publicity and advertising purpose. Some insincere merchants will jack up the price and claim to offer it at 50%-90% discounts to make sure they still earn money. How do you know it's a good deal? Ask your friends on Facebook!
  2. Read the fine print and call the merchant - What's the catch? Watch out for terms and conditions like "only valid on weekdays" or "3 days in advance is required for appointments" etc. All deals have its own terms, this is normal, so make sure you align your expectation accordingly. If you are in doubt please call the merchants directly to get more information, please note that sometimes deal sites (especially inexperienced sites) do not communicate properly with the merchant and have the fine print poorly written. Also don't be surprised that the merchant's receptionist is not aware of such deal being offered by their company. Of course, some sites have a comment section where the representative of the deal site or merchant is always standby to answer your questions.
  3. Beware of the number of buyers - Sometimes a deal is so good that it attracted more than ten thousands purchases. But please be aware that some merchants cannot cope with so many customers at once. Normally a deal site will extend the voucher validity period if the deal, for example, has more than 100 purchases, the period will be increased from one month to two months. An established and experienced group buying site will always set a maximum number to avoid over-purchase. If the deal has a great demand, it will be offered again in the future in a controlled manner. You certainly do not want your voucher to be useless because you can't book a time for your facial therapy on weekend, or you need to make a reservation 3 months in advance for your buffet dinner right?
  4. Beware of phishing sites - I have not heard of any fraudulent group buying sites in Malaysia yet but we need to be very careful when doing online transaction. This should not be an issue for the renown sites but there are so many new sites appearing in recent months. Take China for example, it has more than 4500 group buying sites and is growing at the rate of approximately 10 sites per day! Phishing sites is a real problem in China. In Malaysia, Dealshelve estimates that there is 1 new site appearing every week. But the good thing is most sites in Malaysia and Singapore are using payment gateway like iPay88, NBePay and PayPal. We should have better confidence on sites that uses payment gateway than those sites that require direct bank transfer or online credit card payment without payment gateway because the payment gateway company can be last line of defense in case of fraudulence.

Do you have more specific tips on group buying? Please leave a comment or send an email to Happy group buying!

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