9/10 Voucher Code Sites Still Breaking The Rules
16:50 on Mon, 7 Sep 2009 | Industry Comment | 2 Comments
I did a post back in March, bringing up the discussion on the IAB's updates guidelines for voucher code affiliate sites. In a nutshell, the IAB guideless are set out "..to ensure that traffic from affiliate sites sent to merchants is not done in a misleading or confusing way and that consumers receive a good user experience."
Central to this is:
"Affiliates must not use a mechanism whereby users are encouraged to click to interact with content where it is unclear or confusing what the outcome will be"
Essentially, don't force the user to click your affiliate link before you give them (an active!) voucher code, I think this would satisfy as a good user experience.
My post back in March, got some angry (albeit anonymous) replies stating, "96% of affiliates generating revenue are now compliant with these rules" and the IAB had wanted 100% compliance by April 2009.
I thought it would be interesting to do a search for voucher codes. Google estimates monthly, exact searches for this term at 165,000 per month in the UK. I think it would be fair to say, ranking for this term would give you a good stab at generating revenue.
Rather than going through every IAB guideline, I'm just going to see which sites are still requiring me to "click" before I can access the voucher code.
#1 & #2 Vouchercodes.co.uk - Click to reveal: Uses a "get code and open site" button. While you can view the code by hovering, attempting to copy the code (by clicking) opens the affiliate site. They are kind enough however to let you view expired voucher codes, without this convoluted system.
#3 Myvouchercodes.co.uk - Click to reveal: All codes are tied in with the "visit site" link to reveal codes.
#4 Vouchercodes.com - Click to reveal: Standard text link that will only reveal codes (some expired) when you click the affiliate link.
#5 Voucherseeker.co.uk - Click to reveal: Tempts you with half a code until, you guessed it - you click the affiliate link.
#6 Wowvouchercodes.co.uk - Click to reveal: All voucher codes are scrambled until you click the affiliate link
#7 Vouchersmarter.co.uk - Click to reveal: Seen this graphic before? A universal click to reveal system in place, similar to myvouchercodes.co.uk.
#8 Promotionalcodes.org.uk - Click to reveal: Despite claiming on the button to see "active" codes, the site simply lists most expiry dates as "unknown" - and you can see from the user feedback, there are a large number of expired codes.
#9 Ukvouchercode.com - We have a winner!: UKvouchercode.com (disclosure: which I or Further is not affiliated with in anyway) appears to be the only site within the first page of results that gives you active voucher codes, without the need to show, reveal hide, or otherwise jump through virtual flaming hoops. Well done, I hope you rank even better for voucher codes :)
#10 Vouchersave.co.uk - Click to reveal: Exactly the same system as vouchercodes.co.uk, with a slippery rollover system, that while straddling the guidelines, doesn't allow you just to "copy and paste" the voucher code.
Conclusion: I guess it's up for debate whether the majority of these sites fall within the IAB guidelines. Personally, I think one of the basic requirements for a good and easy user experience, is for the website not to disable any of my browser/OS "innate" features, such as back button, copy & paste and the like.
From what I've seen, most of these sites still provide an experience that is far too heavily weighed on gaining the click, rather than providing the voucher.
So I ask you, what are your thoughts on these sites - acceptable? Or should there be tighter control?
After thought: I wonder how many people are already at the basket stage when they look for a voucher code. Do any voucher toolbars exist to find voucher codes automatically at this stage of the process?