If you’re like me, the economic meltdown has somewhat limited your socializing and entertainment options over the last few years. Aiming to fill that need, a bunch of new “social coupon” sites have developed in the last year, many of which are capitalizing on the power of social media to spread money-saving deals.
If you’ve been wondering how these sites work, and whether or not signing up would be a good deal for you, this post covers the basics, and highlights a few of my favorites in the DC area (and beyond — most of these operate in NYC, Chicago, LA, and 15-40 other metro areas).
The basics: Generally, these sites offer a new deal on a restaurant, theater, bar, spa, or other location, often 50% off (e.g., “pay $25 for a $50 gift certificate to Restaurant X”). You can purchase the item and end the process there. However, many sites also offer the opportunity for you to share the deal with your friends, gaining even more savings if your friends join and/or purchase the deal, too.
The whole situation is a win-win. The restaurant gets an increase in business, possibly helping them through a rough patch in customer demand. The consumer gets a good deal on a restaurant they may have already wanted to check out. And the consumer who is willing to share that deal with friends can get an even bigger savings.
Here’s how four of them work more specifically, with links to join.
Living Social: This one is my favorite, and here’s how it works, in their words.
—Each day, we send you one deeply discounted deal to use at local businesses. Sign up to get our daily email.
—Purchase our daily deals with one easy click. You will receive your deal the next business day. It’s that simple!
—After you buy the deal, you’ll get a unique link to share. If three people buy the deal using your link, then your deal is free.
(Also, if you refer a friend, you’ll get $5 credit when they buy their first deal).
Link to join Living Social: https://livingsocial.com/redeem_invite/95846-jacque?ref=lnk
Groupon: Works similarly — except a minimum number of people need to (tentatively) buy a deal before it becomes active, and Groupon doesn’t offer a “3 friends buy and yours is free.” On the plus side, due to their size, Groupon seems to have a bit more power to get great shops/deals, and they offer a $10 referral credit for referring your friends.
Link to join: http://www.groupon.com/r/uu1743369
What’s the Deal DC: Okay, you get it by now, main difference is that these deals tend to last a bit longer. Just by signing up, you’ll get an additional $5 credit toward your first purchase. Also, this is a DC-specific site.
Link to join: http://sowhatsthedeal.com/ref/arsen1641
Goldstar: this is less of a “social coupon” site, and more of a standard discount ticket site, but on any given day, they’re offering dozens, if not hundreds, of deals on theater, concerts, tours, sporting events, and more.
Link to join: https://www.goldstar.com/join?p=F1264232RP
(In the interest of full disclosure, I will get some credit toward future deals from you joining and/or purchasing deals from some of these sites, as is the point of the social coupon sites described above. Likewise, if you join and invite your friends to join, you’ll be eligible for those same benefits when they join and/or buy).Tweet