E*TRADE Financial | Investing, Trading & Retirement

[Table] IAmA: We started Slickdeals, the largest online deal community, ask us anything!

Verified? (This bot cannot verify AMAs just yet)
Date: 2013-11-18
Link to submission (Has self-text)
Questions Answers
IS SELMA A BOT?! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE SETTLE THIS! [Bryant] She's not a bot! And actually it seems like she retired :(
other merchants pay her to get those deal posted on the forums kinda like what you guys do. We suspected this and even checked into this too, but could not make any determination as to whether or not this was true due to the fact that there was no pattern.
It was known that merchants sent her deals directly, but there was no evidence of payment.
Just wanted to say that the Deal Alerts feature is the best on the web. It's saved me thousands of dollars, and that's a conservative estimate. [Bryant] Since you already use Deal Alerts, do you also get push notifications using our mobile apps?
What do you see as the greatest unknown or little-known features of the SlickDeals site? Outside of that, there's something called Slickdeals Live which is a real time feed of votes, posts and comments. Fun fact: This feature took down our own website in the past when it first came out hah. (We basically ddosed ourselves)
I love slickdeals live! Worth dedicating a secondary monitor just for this page. We definitely do this in house too!
What do you use for your website framework? Do you use anything for real-time profiling? Do you regret any choices you made originally during initial development & programming? If you could do it all over again, what language & framework would you have written slickdeals in? [Vitaly]. Our forum is our de-facto vBulletin platform with a lot of modifications to make it scale and work for our (deal sharing/hunting) purpose. A very significant portion of (our) code is segmented and largely standalone, we try to sandbox and separate features as much as possible to ease maintenance, testing and potential of code interactions/collisions.
As of late, we have been using New Relic monitoring for a lot of the realtime (and lower level) monitoring, as well as a lot of post-mortem tools (Cacti, NagiOS) to tell us when things go bad.
Looking back (and forward for the TODO list) we'd love to make our architecture even more decoupled, be more diligent about code, reviews, testing, etc from the get go, as well as really attacking some of the skeletons in the closet we continue to encounter with the forum platform every day.
If we did it all over again... that's a difficult question to answer with 14 years of code (10 years of forums experience) behind our belts. I'd definitely think scale fastesooner, and bake it into initial products as much as possible - as those are usually hard to fix post-factum without a complete re-architecture (basically restarting from scratch).
[Bryant] I think that there have been some challenges fixing vbulletin's code to make it scale for large websites. A lot of vbulletin's code is "legacy" and not object-oriented. However, I think PHP has been a pretty good and robust language for us.
A lot of the work in recent years for our infrastructure has been around databases and data as well as performance tuning.
Scaling actually became much easier after the switch, and I sleep much easier now feeling confident the site will stay up if there is a morning rush. In conversations about new features the word vbulletin never come up as well. How big are you guys in terms of traffic? Most of our issues didnt come until we hit the much larger traffic spikes.
I've used SD for a long time and lately I stop going to the site because i'll spend needlessly but I just want to ask if the give aways are legit and who supplies the prizes? I've always been a little sketched out by them. The giveaways are 100% legit. We (Slickdeals) actually purchase the prizes ourselves and ship them to the winners. You can see a list of past winners and prizes here as proof!
Why don't you guys have a cashback program? [Bryant] One of the reasons is because we care about our editorial independence. We want to be able to post whatever deals we want. You'd be surprised about how many merchants will send us a cease and desist because someone posted something like a Pizza Hut coupon that was "designed for the email channel" only. It's the internet! Everyone's gonna share what they find.
The second reason is we don't have the staff or resources. Cashback is a huge issue when it comes to tech, security, customer service etc, especially when you deal with people's money. Right now, we want to be at arms length. That isn't to say that we aren't always considering our options and doing research about the feasibility of doing something like cashback in the future.
You use referral links for all or most deals posted on SD. You still make money on those, right? We monetize where we can (its actually an automated process), but cashback relies on a stronger merchant partnership.
What's the best deal you've seen since the site's inception? [Bryant]
When Bing/Microsoft decided to throw money away and give 35% off ebay.
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to archive.slickdeals.net
Link to archive.slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to archive.slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Link to slickdeals.net
Jeebus, you kept an on going list all these years? These are just what we remember off the top of our head!
Friends of mine, but sadly not me, bought 1oz Krugerrand gold coins for ~$750. It was ridiculous. Funny you never mentioned the US Mint deal that was pretty much destroyed by everyone. Hah, I remember that one too. I didn't go all out crazy on it but it was good while it lasted.
This FTC filing (along with an influx of new c-level talent on LinkedIn) indicates that Warburg Pincus either purchased outright or purchased some percentage of SlickDeals late last year. And, in your opinion, what does this greater trend of deal site acquisitions (SD to Warburg, Bens to Internet Bargains, FatWallet to Ebates/PMB, Techbargains to Experian, Deals2Buy to WhaleShark/RMN) mean to the bargain hunting / internet affiliate industry? We took an investment to help grow slickdeals and help us find more deals for more people. The founding team, along with all the original employees are still here, and in fact still heavily involved (actually really involved, as evidenced here, but did you know all our employees have thanksgiving together at the office because its so busy for us that it’s all hands on deck for thanksgiving through cyber monday? It’s not so bad though, we have a fun time, and the company provides all the fixings. Check out last year’s spread: Link to farm9.staticflickr.com Regarding your other questions, its hard to guess why someone sold or took investments or did other things. Some people do just want to cash out, some people combine for strategic purposes, and then others do it to scale. What does it mean for the community? Hard to speculate because I dont know what each company has planned, but I can tell you for us it means we have more resources to do more ambitious things. I'll be the first to admit that I dont know everything, and the more help (talent, experience) I could get to make slickdeals even more successful and useful to consumers, the better. We believe its an exciting time for Slickdeals because even though we're 14 years old, we're just getting started. As we mentioned before, we grew purely through word of mouth and as you saw we gained a lot of experienced talent who can help us become a better company and create a better service. We believe we have plenty of room to grow and become even more successful, and we were lucky enough to find an investor who shares that belief and is "hands off" about it too: they're letting the management team here run the company... It took us a lot of deliberation and searching to find someone who shared our viewpoint: they recognized that the community is the most important part of Slickdeals, and that the users are first and foremost.
Did these founders just want a cash parachute or is this influx of outside money making it increasingly difficult to successfully operate as an independent site in a space with very low barriers to entry? It is a little more difficult to operate because you have these big companies like RMN spending tons of money and you have to be competitive. But thats not the only reason why someone should sell or invest. I dont think its a low barrier to entry, depending on what you're trying to do. Sure its easy to start a "deal" site where you scrape or take other people's content, but its far harder to build a community millions strong and that is our leverage. Plus, users will eventually find the source of the content and they will reward the source with their patronage, and they in turn will be rewarded with the most timely content.
What deal in the history of your site represented the biggest moderation nightmare, and alternatively, what deal do you feel like most people overlooked? Vitaly]. The mega touchpad firesale thread is probably the one that lasted the longest. Of ~290,000 posts about 40,000 were deleted as part of moderation. [Link to slickdeals.net The others that come to mind are purpose-driven threads that went through some community in-fighting/rule violations: Kohl's thread, Victoria Secret thread, Printable coupon thread (before it had members actively monitoring it) - lots of fraud potential there.
How much does it bother you when posts originating on slickdeals are cross-posted to other deal sites like cheapassgamer? [Vitaly] A little. Then again, our users post deals to SD that are taken from other sites too. In the end, this is a sharing site, and if people share elsewhere, or from elsewhere - it's fair game. We live in the internet world, and we can't control what spreads where.
[Bryant] If it's just natural sharing of deals, we don't mind. Its the internet, things are meant to be shared. We did however have an issue where websites scraped our content wholesale and then rewrote our links so that they'd take our revenue. That was upsetting because we put so much work into building and cultivating the community to have someone rip it off.
Are you guys doing this AMA do get more people to go on slickdeals? Also why don't you guys have a cashback program like FatWallet? Just answering questions as founders since we thought it'd be interesting leading up to black friday.
Fun fact: We’ve got 108,000 facebook fans, 145,000 twitter followers, 3,500 google plus subscribers (hah), and Reddit still sends us more traffic than any of those guys combined. And we dont even "try" here (nor can we).
Re: cashback see Link to www.reddit.com
Big fan of SD here. Get a lot of great deals off your site and really appreciate it! [Bryant] We make money off of advertising and affiliate revenue. These are usually done through affiliate networks such as Commission Junction or Linkshare. In short, we get a small commission for generating sales for some of these companies (but not all).
One thing I have always wondered - do you guys solely generate your revenue based on advertisements? Or do you have any type of agreements in place with various retail outlets/websites? However, as you can expect, we don't always make money and in fact that isnt a factor in deciding what makes it to our Frontpage. Our deal editors have complete authority and independence about choosing what makes it to the frontpage (for example free burgers at Jack in the Box, even though it makes no money). The deal editors are sourced from our community so they were users who were picked for finding great deals.
Oh - and does anyone ever really win that damn giveaway? I swear I have entered it everyday for the past 2 years and have never won! Regarding the giveaway: The giveaways are 100% legit. We (Slickdeals) actually purchase the prizes ourselves and ship them to the winners. You can see a list of past winners and prizes here as proof!
What was the process for choosing Bryant as CEO? He was a passionate user on SD and had a strong technical and business background. He started working in middle school and had own company in high school. I didn't want someone corporate to come in and muck up everything good about SD.
How many hamsters does it take to run the SD servers? Lots and lots of great memories but my all time favorite was when I received my first check. It was 17 cents from PlanetRX. I don't know why I was so excited but I showed it to my gf. Of course, she rolled her eyes and told me to tell her when I make > $1. The idea of making money online was foreign to me back then.
Best deal you’ve been able to get? There are not many bad memories but getting cease and desists from big companies was never fun. It has always worried me that they might stomp us with their huge team of lawyers but so far we have resisted their takedown requests.
We currently have 5 full racks just running SD. 5 racks for development, but they're not full, maybe 2-3 racks.
I agree with you that's it's a great tool during BF. Too bad not many people know about it. I don't remember who came up with the idea but I saw it implemented over at Digg and thought the feature would be cool on SD.
There are a bunch... Way back in the days I got a free Dimension 8100 from Dell, $400 Best Buy credit for signing up to MSN and canceling right away, free Flooz = free $$, 50% off everything at Value America. Those were the days! More recently, HP Touchpad, 35% off ebay, $50 off $100 at Best Buy.
What were some of the most difficult challenges in the early stages of slickdeals? The biggest challenge was not having enough time to work on Slickdeals. I was spending 8-16hr days 7 days a week in the early years when it was just me running the site. Luckily, my gf at the time didn't mind and I loved finding deals myself. The burden lightened up after the forum opened up in 2003 where I was able to source deals, deal editors and moderators from. It was no longer 1 person running the site, it was "thousands" at the time. With more time, I was able to concentrate more on building the site rather than just running the site.
Mr_sd there is the original founder of Slickdeals (Van).
I have impulse bought so many things because of your website... [Bryant] We want Slickdeals to be a household brand. With only ~12 million unique visitors a month we know that there are still plenty of people out there that can learn about Slickdeals.
Question. What future plans do you have with slickdeals? We want to be the company that you trust to give you the best advice about any purchase decision and to facilitate the purchase process by giving you everything you need to know. That's the vision and direction we're going for.
Long time user of SlickDeals and I wanted to say THANKS! [Vitaly]. I personally think that death of retail stores is an overstatement. Look at Apple, for example - their retail stores are blooming - both for research and purchase purposes. In the end, it's all about what value a store adds. If all it sells is commodity goods and provides no discernable value to the end user, competition (online or offline) will put it out of business eventually.
That said, How do you feel about deal sites effect on Retail brick and mortar stores and do you think that physical stores are dying? People still like having the convenience of 'I want this today' and there are many things that many will never buy online (clothing, shoes are the obvious ones). I'll give you a real life example. My family member owns a mom and pop appliance store which successfully competes with Lowes and Best Buy within walking distance by satisfying the post-purchase service requirement. They've done it for many years, and people specifically come to them to buy things. It's all about finding the niche that you fill in the end - and you'll have no problem surviving.
Have you ever gotten a letter from another web/sys admin from a store site in response to being SlickDealed? (slow their webservers to a crawl) [Bryant] We've taken down a lot of sites, we might not necessarily get a letter though. Sometimes an email saying "please, please take down this deal you're killing our servers!"
Some notable sites include ebay + paypal, discount mags, walmart, dell (a lot), hp (and everyone who sold HP touchpads), and more that I don't even remember. It happens, especially to smaller sites.
How do you respond to the allegations that you only promote deals to the front page that make you money and/or that you get paid for promoting certain deals to the front page? The fact is our editors have complete editorial integrity about picking which deals make it to the frontpage. This is how you get deals for free tacos at taco bell which clearly don't make us any direct revenue. Its no doubt that we make money off of frontpage deals, but we certainly don't purposely try to hide deals. Sometimes deals get missed by a deal editor just because they're human and they have to review so many deals... >Walmart has a deal for x.
Why so many front page deals from tanga? Seems like crap usually...? Just curious. Oh and I love the site. Found it 2-3 years back. Now I've got all kinds of people hooked on slick deals We mostly go on votes! Sometimes the community is a strange thing - we see ebbs and flows about what the community likes and dislikes. Remember when there used to be meritline deals all over the place? now there are none.
What do you think about resellers? Some people lurk SD just to get deals they can then resell back at a higher price. Are you against it? Do you think it's fair game? [Bryant] I'd prefer that more unique people were able to get into a deal, but its not like we can do anything to stop it. Some merchants have gotten better about order limits though.
Will I ever win a daily sweepstakes? I've been entering everyday for the past 2 years ;_; [Bryant] Keep trying! the odds are pretty good actually as many members have won multiple times now.
How much bigger in terms of unique traffic is sd to fw? At this point, we don't know. Their stats are no longer public.
NA only or do you have an European version? International expansion is within the realm of possibility :) What we need the most though are passionate users in those areas to help build the seed the community.
You interested? :)
How do you see your business model evolving as companies continue to divest from the affiliate channel? Working in the eCommerce space, I know that many businesses (ours included) are always looking for ways to pay less to affiliates partners. Can you share a rough breakdown of how much revenue comes from affiliates vs display advertising? I see the affiliate channel growing. Sorry to see that you had a bad experience through the channel. If handled correctly, it can be a huge traffic & sales driver. My suggestion is to gather as much data as you can and look at what drives you incremental sales/traffic.
How do you feel about cashback sites? At the end of the day, most Slickdealers know that they can get cashback from places like ShopAtHome or TopCashback. Merely banning names of competitors seems like more of stop gap measure than a permanent fix. We are neutral to them. There are a few sites that we don't ban such as FW since they allow SD on their site. We ban competitors that don't allow linking to us. ShopAtHome has always been shady with their toolbar.
Are you guys looking for more any additional forum moderators? Feel free to hit me up! Otherwise, would love some advice on how to be considered :) We usually disqualify (not always) people who ask to be a mod. :)
Sorry if I miswrote- affiliates can definitely be a big source of traffic/sales. That said, most companies aren't keen on subsidizing purchases. For example, if my company is running an awesome deal that we know will get posted on SlickDeals organically, there's no incentive for us to have a high payout rate for affiliates. Arguably, there's no reason to pay a commission rate at all, right? One more piggy back is that we've demonstrated our value to merchants in that of those that are able to track their click funnel, they see that we drive purchase intent. We're usually the first click, which is the most valuable, and arguably the sales dont happen unless people discover them on slickdeals.
The reciprocal linking policy makes sense- I thought it was all competitors. ShopAtHome is definitely collecting all sorts of data with their toolbar but they have an amazing Cash Back Guarantee which has saved me a bunch of $. Furthermore, a deal on the Slickdeals Frontpage has a lift in the entire affiliate marketing ecosystem - other deal sites copy our deals and content, other coupon sites see usage, etc.
Ha, I figured. Out of the running before I started. I'll have to keep an eye on the Business Operations job openings :) While an affiliate partnership isnt necessary to make it to the frontpage, having a relationship with the deal editors makes it easier for us to find your deals and promote them.
Lemme start off by saying that I'm a huge fan of slickdeals. It is easily responsible for 30% of my daily electronics, including an HP Touchpad and some nice speakers. [Bryant] We try to keep a good relationship with the merchants, and part of that is educating them that Slickdeals is a community. Its a forum of users who act independently.
Slickdeals has certainly drawn some flack in the occasional price mistake thread, most recently the Walmart price mistake fiasco within the past few weeks. Most of the complaints come from concerned citizens, but I have never seen an actual company response. "Would you blame Facebook if you got bad PR there? Would you blame Reddit? Then you shouldn't blame Slickdeals". We do allow merchants to do customer service on our website (but not many take us up on that offer, or do it well).
Has slickdeals ever received complaints from the actual companies themselves (in accordance to losses caused by threads), and how were they dealt with? That being said, it has not stopped some companies from complaining. Most companies realize though that if they had a price mistake, it was their error. Its not like someone at slickdeals came and hacked their system and changed the prices.
Can you share us your current revenue stream, and what changes after 2009? I mean, you don't go from 3 to 35 employees by pure luck :) [Bryant] Wouldn’t you like to know :D Well we’re private so we wouldn't really answer that question, but we make money through ads and affiliate marketing. Since we’ve started, our users have purchased over a $3 billion dollars worth of stuff, and saved them just about as much money!
In terms of what changed in 2009, thats when we really decided to launch the company as a real business. Opened an office in Las Vegas, hired developers, and people to help run the site. Luckily the investment was worth it as we continue to grow.
[Van] I decided that to grow SD and give it the love it deserves, we needed an office so that we can work together in person rather than remotely. In the first 10 years, everything was done remotely and it was great as a small team but you can only accomplish so much. After opening up the office, we added mostly devs and a business person to handle merchant questions.
off, I'm a big fan of SD. Thanks for all of your work! [Vitaly]. I personally get that asked a lot by friends and family. My answer is always the same. I get my holiday/birthday/special day shopping done during the whole year. I buy things that are good-to-awesome price when I know that's something I'll use some day (that impulse spending!) and I always had. Black Friday is a great time to get some of those one-off deals, but in the past something like TVs, for example is happening year round. Early in the year (Feb-March) when there are model line changeovers to new, and improved current year models, often during major sporting events (Superbowl), Father's Day and sometimes Black Friday. With TVs, each year has the 'best size' - this year it's 60-65" models, which are the best 'price-per-inch' ratio (last year it was 55"). The main thing with TVs - settle on the features you absolutely need, and don't look for 'nice-to-haves' or specific brands, since chances are if you do that you will overpay.
I want a new TV, but for various reasons, do not have the desire to do Black Friday shopping. What are other good times during the year to purchase TVs? [Bryant] It doesn't apply just to TV's either. Good deals happen year round (and often times are even better than Black Friday).
How many HP Touchpads did you buy? Honestly though, how many users did that fuster cluck bring to your site and how many stayed? It was one of the biggest days for us, even larger than Black Friday. We bought a lot, I think we got one for every employee as a perk :)
What data is used to establish that you are able to call yourselves "the world's largest online deal community?" Just wondering. Peace, and good luck out there! [Bryant] Basically we looked at all of our competitors in the deal website space and looked at their traffic numbers. We have the largest out of all of them.
How often is a deal so hot that you buy it yourselves before listing it in "Hot Deals?" U/LavernicaDeLuca's statement is true in that our users post most of the deals. However, when a deal editor notices something especially hot, they'll send a company wide message to give everyone a heads up.
I had to buy something for a college class once, a memory stick or something, and my professor said to check slickdeals.net but to make sure not to go to slickdeals.com. This was a few years ago, what was going on there? Was it like whitehouse.gove and whitehouse.com? I started with slickdeals.net and .com was taken at the time. As we grew, someone got a hold of .com and they squatted on it demanding a lot of $$$. So, we went the UDRP route and got .com.
How does everyone find their deals? How did you find your deals starting out? Are most really just common users stumbling upon a good deal and posting it on the forum? DJ3xclusive can't be human. Editors look for deals through newsletters or merchants sometimes email stuff for us to consider. Users find and post their own deals as well.
DJ3 is totally human :) He's out of new york.
For many years, I have had the overall feeling that FatWallet used to be the bigger community*, but that Slickdeals overtook FW at some point. I do not have any statistics or reference, but that is what my general experience tells me. Yup, if I had to pick a year, it'd be around 2008-2009 in which we passed Fatwallet.
I've always wondered how you guys managed to eclipse FatWallet. Fatwallet was the shit back in the days, then suddenly slowly SD took over. What happened? We focused on the finding the best deals and growing our community. I think they focused on cashback and was successful in that.
I think its because we remained true to our audience. We've always maintained our integrity and never allowed paid insertions to our frontpage deals, whereas our competitors definitely put sponsored deals in there.
Also, if you think about the only change that happened to fatwallet compared to slickdeals was they started cashback. You'd think that it would make users happier, but as I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, that comes with consequences. Mostly related to editorial freedom. Suddenly you've got sponsors everywhere and you're pushing deals because you want to drive volume and its more about percentage points than the deal being good on its own. This is just speculation on my part though.
Why'd you swap my ghost pepper for a less lethal one? Was that just aimed at making me look like a bad gardener or was there some deeper motive at work? Haha, we didn't swap your ghost chili. It was weak.
What are the key differentiating factors between a job candidate that is offered a position and those that are not? [Bryant] Honesty, competency in the required job skills, and whether or not the person fits in with the Slickdeals culture.
What determines whether or not a person sticks around after being hired includes work ethic and the desire to self-improve and learn.
[Vitaly]. I will answer from the tech side (I have hired most of our tech team). In no particular order: -(required condition) Initial skillset -Drive to write good software (dev) -Hunger for learning new things (dev and ops) -Presence of (some) personality -Low resistance to deal hunter mentality brainwashing.
Is the work that SD's employees do "siloed" to the work they were originally hired for? For example, if someone was hired for DevOps but they had an interest in learning more and being involved with software development and/or even the business operations, is that something you encourage internally? At slickdeals, we wear a lot of hats. Especially when we were smaller. If people wanted to try new things, I certainly wouldn't stop them from trying to learn.
Surely you can do more than just be a forum. The goal is to be an authoritative resource for shopping. Someone you can rely on to give you all the information you need to make an informed shopping decision, but not only that. We want to make sure you get the most -value- for your money.
Last updated: 2013-11-22 21:45 UTC
This post was generated by a robot! Send all complaints to epsy.
submitted by tabledresser to tabled [link] [comments]

ETrade Refer a Friend Reward Details: Open an ETrade account and deposit or transfer $5,000 or more to earn cash rewards—up to $2,500 based on the total amount at eTrade! E*TRADE credits and offers may be subject to U.S. withholding taxes and reporting at retail value. Taxes related to these credits and offers are the customer’s responsibility. Etrade friend referral bonus program offer code ($50 Amazon.com Gift Card) for recommended friend or family member to open a new brokerage account in 2020 Etrade Friend Referral Bonus Get up to $2,500 cash bonus with this friend referral link. E*Trade has always been one of the most popular stock brokers online, and we vote it as one of the best for trading all markets/instruments (Stocks, Options, Forex, Futures, and Mutual Funds).. Most consumers like the ease of website navigation, features of their industry leading mobile app, and the vast educational material that E*Trade offers. If you experience any issues when attempting to enroll with a Joint Account, please contact us 800-387-2331 (800-ETRADE-1) and we will be able to assist you with your enrollment. E*TRADE charges $0 commission for online US-listed stock, ETF, and options trades. Forms / Applications Description Action; Bank Account Application: Open a checking account: Apply online / Download PDF: E*TRADE Complete Investment Account Application (Brokerage Account)

[index] [4101] [1798] [11] [15209] [8884] [8477] [2913] [8263] [14150] [10913]