Monday, February 11, 2019
So, you just found a sweet deal of a coupon for our products somewhere on the internet. We all like to save money, so you hurry on over to Panfishpro.com, add your favorite products to the cart, enter that sweet coupon code, and nothing. No discount! What happened, what went wrong? You found a coupon website that offers up fake coupons. That’s right, fake coupons. Why would anyone want to offer a fake coupon? That answer is complex in nature, and there may be reasons beyond the obvious. We will attempt to explain this without going full-on geek.
The above image is a screen shot taken of a coupon website on Sunday, February 10, 2019. This website displays 8 different discount codes, appearing to be from Panfishpro.com. All of these codes are either expired or fake. On this day, the same website displayed 61 offers from Walmart. We attempted to use 3 of them. None of these 3 worked.
Lets explore why someone would offer fake coupons.
As mentioned earlier, there are many reasons for offering fake coupons. If you can successfully attract more visitors to your website, your website, generally, becomes more valuable. Why? A website with a large number of visitors has advertising revenue potential. We’ve all seen this, you visit a news website, entertainment website, or perhaps a few blogs you like to read. Tucked away between the articles and paragraphs are advertisements. Sometimes these advertisements may be for a product or service you are interested in, but we won’t get into that now. Click on that advertisement, make a purchase, and the website owners, or blog owners, which displayed the ad, will be compensated in some way for the sale. That’s pretty strait forward. This type of advertising generally falls under what is referred to as affiliate marketing.
How do you get more traffic to your website? Well, one way is to offer products and services that consumers are interested in or want. We all use search engines to, well, search for things we are interested in and things we want. A recent study, in the year 2017, of 1,000 internet shoppers, revealed that 56% of them searched for a coupon before making a purchase. If you own or operate a website or blog that offers coupons, you are seeing larger numbers of visitors to your site.
But why the fake coupons?
Back to affiliate marketing. Click the ad on a website, or blog, make a purchase, and the owners of the blog or website are compensated. It’s the same for a coupon marketer. Click the coupon, make a purchase, and someone will be compensated for that sale. This is where it gets interesting. Lets say you find a coupon website with dozens of offers from another website where you want to make a purchase. One of these offers is free shipping. You like free shipping! You grab that coupon code, head on over to the website where you want to make a purchase, enter the code, and nothing. No free shipping. The code doesn’t work. You’re frustrated, but make the purchase anyway. The free shipping code didn’t work, yet the coupon website is compensated for the sale. Why? You found the coupon website because they had so many offers from where you wanted to make a purchase. That made their website/blog relevant to the search engines. Search engines don’t know, yet, if a coupon code is valid or not. The search engine only returns your request. Perhaps the coupon website you visited is an affiliate marketer for the company where you wanted to make a purchase, and when you visited that coupon website, a web cookie was set on your browsing device. When you made your purchase, the selling website recognized you as a referral from the coupon website, due to the cookie being on your browsing device. The coupon website probably had one valid coupon, just not the one you were interested in. Commission still paid, hence the many coupon codes, to get your attention, to turn your device into a referral. This is a deceptive practice and should be (more easily) punishable by law, in our opinion.
Who uses affiliate marketing?
Any website operators who are serious about selling products and services, use affiliate marketers. Amazon and Walmart, just to name a few, have affiliate marketing programs in place. Soon, Panfishpro.com will have an affiliate marketing program in place. Unfortunately, entities that offer affiliate programs can’t control what content affiliates offer on their websites or social media accounts. We believe that as a smaller company, our affiliate vetting process will allow the acceptance of entities with honorable virtue.
What are some other reasons for fake coupons?
Again, it’s unfortunate but some fake coupon websites are built strictly for the purpose of harvesting personal information, such as email addresses with the intent of sending spam email. Worst case scenario is the website will infect your device with viruses. Search engines can, and do attempt to filter, or warn of infected website. Pay attention before clinking the browser link, and always have activated, up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your devices.
On the day this article was published, we found 11 websites offering fake, or expired, coupons for our website. From time to time, we do make special offers. The best place to find these special offers is to follow us on social media, or, please visit our website, where special offers will be prominently displayed.
If you would like to read more in depth non-technical information about affiliate marketing, Wikipedia has an interesting article here. Wikipedia also has a great article on web cookies here. Do you have any questions or suggestions for us? We would very much enjoy hearing from you. Please contact us here.
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