Would you spend $1 to buy a $35 coupon from eBay?

Summary:It seems that you can get a really good deal if you do your research on discount websites for the lowest prices and biggest coupons. But is buying a $35 coupon off eBay for $1 going too far?

A few years ago if you asked me if I would buy a coupon off of eBay and I would have thought you were crazy.  But two years ago my friend got me to start looking at these coupon websites (which are a whole topic in and of itself) which list coupon deals for the lowest prices on products from companies like Dell.  Some of the discounts are extremely steep and the issue first came up earlier this year when I compared the first Intel Mac prices to PC based notebooks and from what I understand these discount websites don't make money off click-throughs but actual sales from referred customers.  When they do create an actual sale, the amount of money they make is significantly more than a click-through.  Even though I'm pointing directly to Dell's website in the next paragraph, the original coupon site still gets credit for the referral.

The latest deal I came across was this new 20.1" widescreen LCD display for a low $358 which includes a 3-year advanced replacement warrantee which would be the perfect companion to the overclocked 4 GHz Dual Core Game PC I showed you last Friday.  If that wasn't low enough, the discount site tells us to look for these special $35 "stacking coupons" on eBay which can be used on an already discounted product.  Assuming you find a reputable seller with decent eBay ratings, you would send the seller $0.99 via Paypal and they will tell you the coupon number.  Of course what I want to know is where these guys are getting their stackable coupons in the first place.  With the $35 stacking coupon, the price of the monitor is brought down to $323 + $1 for the coupon.  Depending on the state you live in, you might end up paying no sales taxes with free shipping so you end up with an awesome 20.1" LCD monitor for $324 total price.  For us suckers in California, we get to pay 8.25% sales tax plus an $8 environmental fee for 15 to 35 inch displays.

I still haven't gotten use to the idea of buying things from eBay, but the world seems to be changing and I'll probably have to eventually go with the flow.  Just one of these days I'll come across something I want and I'll have to set up that eBay and Paypal account.  From an advertising standpoint, could discount websites become the big disrupter of conventional advertising?  Tell me if any of you would buy a coupon from eBay and bargain hunt in this manner.

Topics: E-Commerce

About

George Ou, a former ZDNet blogger, is an IT consultant specializing in Servers, Microsoft, Cisco, Switches, Routers, Firewalls, IDS, VPN, Wireless LAN, Security, and IT infrastructure and architecture.

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