Recently there was an article in Economic times about, “How you can save a lot of money by going online and using the sites like snapdeal, taggle, sosasta etc. It makes its advertisements look like they are news items. Wikipedia on ethics in media campaign talks about making advertisement look distinct from news items. Often we have front page sold to marketers and news items which promote advertisers. On inside pages you find articles which run like news and you see ‘Advertorial’ written in nondescript font somewhere. Considering this, should we expect popular media to give us any bit of information which is trustable?
Coming back to this article about how you can save money, we tried to check facts by visiting these sites. The basic requirement was : We wanted to buy ipad 2- 32GB for ourselves . This as claimed in the article is a gadget. Lets see how these helped.
1. Snap Deal : This was our first stop. We saw a lot of noise about dance classes, vacation and nothing about what we needed. They do not provide any deal on what we needed. They provide deals on what profits them. More like a seduction to spend on some thing we do not need. Will that save me money ?
2. Taggle.com : This was our second destination. “More for less “ screamed a clichéd statement. I remembered an elephantine COO of a company who himself was pathetic but used this to honk engineers with this stick. It used to mean take less pay and work more 😉 . We heard that Taggle has a great management team with very bright people. If this team of bright people had to copy Groupon they must have found something brilliant must have done something good for the users Poor Groupon still has not yet found a business model and learn from its imitators. I searched for ipad 2 and this is what we got now at 1711 hrs, August 21, 2011, Sorry, inspite of all the media noise this doesn’t help us in our simple need.
3. SoSasta.com : This site had made a lot of noise after acquisition by Groupon. Now if the Big daddy is dying in US of Yay!! ( It needs USD 750 Mn to stay afloat) we had little hope that it would be of any use. We gave it a good try. This again was selling something which I do not want. This time , a stainless bar set. See below: and then to my chagrin, we found that there was no way to search. We went to see all deals. We expected and saw the same stupid deals for Spa, tattoo and irritating Machhli pedicure. This too didn’t help . We didn’t have intention to carry on with the anymore deal sites but to complete to this post , we had to kiss the last post.
4. Mydala.com : It cleverly took me to its Pune page ( IP detection ) . It was selling an irritating local icecream for Rs 49 /= but to my relief , it had search. And we searched ipad 2 and this is what we got:
We realized that these imitators of Groupon do not help you with what you want.
Conclusion : These deal sites are flavor of the season with India’s investors and gullible customers. We know of people who bought coupons from such deal sites for Spa and realized that the coupon was applicable for such hours that they could not use it even after 3 months of wait.
The conclusions then can be :
- The news articles need to be read with some scepticism though you may not like smelling the rotten fishes between the lines
- The deal sites don’t save you money on what you want but on what they can profit from or have arrangements done.
- The deals offered mostly are on things which don’t sell at particular time for example, a dinner for two at 1100hrs on Monday mornings.
- If investors have put in money on some site and its spending on advertisement of paid news article its not necessarily a good site
- India is mammoth country with lots and lots of people with really bad taste and anything / everything is being sold with loud media campaigns
PS : Like swines give birth to 20 piglets in every lanes there are dealsites launched by everyone. In Singapore there is a dealsite for every lane. Imagine, India having that many and the stink in cyberspace will be suffocate us. Its not practical and feasible to discuss or tolerate every other dealsite erupting like sores.
A few months later : This blog starts sounding the deathknell for deal sites :http://www.indiadealsites.com/829/is-interest-in-snapdeal-waning.html