My wife and I consider ourselves to be frugal. By that, I mean that we don’t subject ourselves to a “cheap” lifestyle, but to one that gives us happiness by carefully managing our money. This means that we think twice where our money should be invested, spent and shared. We’ve been avid readers of MoneySense, a leading Canadian magazine about personal finances, for many years.
A while ago, we were introduced to the notion of cashback providers in one of MoneySense’s articles. The idea behind a cashback provider is that it acts as a middleman between the consumer and the merchant within the online shopping experience. By going through a cashback provider before checking out an order, the consumer gets a variable cashback percentage for their purchase. This works great because the merchant gives an initial cashback percentage to the provider as a referral fee, and the provider gives back a cut of that percentage to the consumer. Everyone wins.
The idea behind the Deal Sniffer project occurred on a late November afternoon just before Black Friday. At home, we use both Great Canadian Rebates (GCR) and Ebates Canada to compare which one provides the best cashback value for a given merchant, however this process is done manually. For example, we would open one tab within the browser for the merchant’s website (i.e., Amazon Canada), as well as two other tabs (one for GCR and another for Ebates Canada). This can and did get cumbersome quite fast.
At some point, while I was chilling in the living room, I hear my wife shouting “Oh, no! I proceeded to checkout an order without going through GCR because I didn’t know that there was a cashback reward for it.”. Immediately, I sketched an idea how to solve this problem and came about with creating an extension that will proactively tell her that the website she’s visiting has potential for cashback reward incentives. However, I didn’t want to lock it down to either GCR or Ebates Canada. I wanted to let her know about any cashback reward that existed from any provider. This lead to creating the Deal Sniffer project. After a few days of development and testing, we decided to share the extension with the rest of the world. First with the Chrome users, and just recently with the Opera users. The uniqueness of Deal Sniffer, is that it notifies the user of any cashback reward incentive regardless of the region where she might be, and isn’t locked down to a single cashback provider.
The reason why we call it a project is because Deal Sniffer doesn’t comprise solely of a browser extension. There’s a service that updates the cashback values from the providers and a back-end dashboard which provides analytics to continually improve the experience of using Deal Sniffer.
It has been exactly six weeks since the first line of code was written, and we’re quite happy with how well it’s working and helping online shoppers. At the moment, we’re supporting cashback providers in each continent of the world. Over 25,000+ merchants are being monitored by Deal Sniffer to notify the user that a cashback reward incentive exists.
Our next goal is to release the extension for Firefox, Safari and Edge.
It’s a fun project to work on. It works well for us and it’s our hope that it’ll work just as better for you.