Disclosure: Some posts on this blog are sponsored, meaning that I received goods, services, or monetary payment for my writing. My opinions however, are not 'purchased' and are always 100% my own. Posts contain affiliate links that I earn a commission on. This disclosure is done in accordance with the FTC 10 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Women Save Big - Offer Breakdown

We've all seen those side-bar ads promising fancy rewards and money saved - but are they a scam or the real deal?

I consider myself an open-minded skeptic. I know that people don't get something for nothing, but I also know that there are occasionally good deals out there because companies will give you a little something in exchange for your business. There is always (and I mean always) a catch. Someone, somewhere is making money off of the great 'deals' you get. In my case, the object of the game is to find the deal with the smallest 'catch' possible!

Today's Breakdown:

The Women Save Big ads.

Disclosure:

Before I go further I want to let my readers know that I am an affiliate for a company that serves this ad - that means that if you sign up, I get paid a few cents. We'll discuss more on that later, but if you want to see my full disclosure policy, please click the 'Let me disclose to you' tab at the top of this page.

The Sign-Up

Is Women Save Big a Scam?First of all, I want my readers to know that I try out every single one of these ads before I break them down to you. So when I tell you how it works, I'm speaking from a point of experience!

When I clicked the Women Save Big ad (pictured at right), it took me immediately to a very clean-looking sign up page.

Signing up is relatively simple - no need to hand out copious amounts of information up front. However, that is where the simplicity appears to end. After you enter your email, there is a box you must check to verify that you are 18+. This triggers a pop-up. (Ugh.) Get rid of the pop-up and return to the original screen. After clicking the Join Now button you'll be met without yet another pop-up. Get rid of this pop-up as well and return to the original screen.

This is the part where I started to feel that the sign-up company was trying to squeeze as much affiliate money out of me as possible. (Again, we'll talk about that part in just a moment.) I get it - they're trying to make a living with this internet stuff, but nothing turns me off to a site quite as much as flashing gimmicky lights and arrows prompting me to click on sales ads. After you enter your email address, that is pretty much what you'll see. This is unfortunate, but there is a way around it!

By scrolling down to the bottom of the page I could see that there way a dark gray 'No Thanks' button. There aren't any flashing lights pointing you to this one, but it's where you want to click! Click the No Thanks button as many times as you need until it redirects you to download a coupon app for ShopAtHome.com.

Aha!

ShopAtHome.com is the end result of signing up through this ad. They are not only a reliable coupon provider, but they have a great integration system for letting you see where you can save money while you are browsing around online. But why are they giving us these great deals? Do they just want to be your bestest-friend ever?

No. Obviously, everyone in this endeavor is getting something out of it. Below I've outlined who is getting what in this deal.

The Money Chain

(All money amounts in this chain are completely made up for the sake of simplicity.)

  • A Brand Name - At the very tip-top of this chain are big-name companies like General Mills, Oscar Meyer, Kohl's, Home Depot, etc. For the sake of our argument, we will pretend that 100 brand name companies tell ShopAtHome that they will pay 20 cents every time someone prints out and uses a coupon of theirs from the ShopAtHome site.
  • ShopAtHome - ShopAtHome is glad that they have a great deal to earn 20 cents each time someone uses a coupon. They have lots of members, but they want even more because it will mean more money for them. They decide to pay another party to bring in more members.
  • Women Save Big - This company is what I call a 5th wheel. They aren't really adding value to this deal, they are just leeching a little bit of money out of the pot. ShopAtHome has told them that they can have $1 every time they get someone to sign up. Because Women Save Big wants to make a lot of money off this deal, they decide to hire an ad-serving company to do some of the work for them.
  • Ad-Serving Company - This company has a huge network of bloggers and website owners signed up with them who will display their ads. Women Save Big tells them that they can have 50 cents each time they sign someone up. This way, Women Save Big is making money without really having to do anything.
  • Bloggers - Website owners like me are the last little fish in the pond to get a bite out of this deal because we're on the bottom of the money chain. Because we are affiliate members of the ad-serving company, they tell us that we can have a 25 cents for each person that signs up using the coded web-ad they provide to us. We plop the code into the side of our website and people sign up. It's pretty easy for us, and we might make $1 a week that way. (A whole dollar! That's like, $52 in a year! I'm gonna be rich!!) (Okay, so not really. Don't you feel sorry for bloggers everywhere now? But I digress...)
  • You - Yes, even you are making something out of this deal. You get the coupon, remember? As long as you make sure to avoid all the extra money-making deals on the Women Save Big (aka the 5th wheel) website, you can get a pretty sweet coupon app in a matter of minutes. And you complete the money chain, because when you go to the store and use that coupon (or when you put in your coupon code online) you have just purchased from a brand name company that paid ShopAtHome. Maybe you would have bought a different brand of cereal if you didn't have that coupon, maybe you wouldn't have. But either way they got a few bucks out of you and it only cost them a few cents. (It was a big long roundabout loop to get your money, but they did it!) Just remember that coupons are ads, even if they are ads that make us feel like we got a little something out of it, and the whole picture will become clear.

The fact that the money chain is there is good because it means the deal is legit. If someone is getting something in exchange for something, it isn't a scam. You only need to be wary when you can't find out who is benefiting from a deal. (Remember, if it's too good to be true...)

Pros:
  1. You get discounts on your usual shopping bills.
  2. ShopAtHome is reliable and convenient.
  3. ShopAtHome has coupons that are actually good, like free shipping, percentages off, grocery coupons, and cash back rewards.
  4. Your sign-up provides a lovely blogger (like me) with a few extra cents to pay the bills & keep their site running.
Cons:
  1. You have to play the go-around game with Women Save Big, and that's annoying.
  2. You have to download the ShopAtHome coupon app, which makes some people wary. (It's safe though, I checked!)

The Bottom Line

It's not a scam, but sign-up is a bit of an annoyance. As long as you don't mind downloading a coupon app that millions of others before you have downloaded and pronounced safe, you should have an easy time using and getting deals using ShopAtHome.

Now. If you feel like signing up, pretty-please click the picture ad at the top of the page so that I can pay for my coffee tomorrow. Questions, comments, or suggestions? Chat with me in the comment section below!

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Disclosure: If you signed up using the picture ad at the top of this page, I probably got paid. Unless I put the code in wrong... then my money disappears into the nether and I wonder why no one wants to give me pennies.

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