This Week in OzBargain July 12-July 22

neil on 23/07/2013 at 2:22 am, filed under Weekly

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week & a 1/2


 

186

Totally Irreverent Closing Down Sale $10 T-Shirts

Posted July 18 tag Fashion & Apparel

170

149

121

120

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


New Features

We rolled out a few features this week:

  • Front Page Deal SubscriptionUsers can get notificated by email as deals hit the number of default front page votes (currently 20).
    To subscribe, go to ‘My Account’ -> ‘Subscriptions’ and click on ‘events’ submenu tab, then check the checkbox for ‘Notify me by email when… A deal reaches the front page’ and save.
  • Filter Front Page and New Deal Listing by CategoryUsers can opt to only show deals for certain categories for front page and new deals pages.
    To customise your deal listing, go to ‘My Account’ -> ‘Settings’ -> ‘deals’ submenu tab, choose the categories you want and save.
  • Private Messaging for Store RepsWe’ve also automatically turned on private messaging for representatives as soon as they post a deal with ‘I am a Store Representative’ checkbox. They are not allowed to disable private messaging if they have posted a rep deal within the last 180 days.

CPL vs. Social Media

Earlier this month, user lucksmith bought a computer from CPL. According to the user, the computer was damaged in transit. CPL allegedly told him that he should take his issue up with Australia Post. Not liking the response, he posted a thread on OzBargain, Reddit Melbourne, and Reddit Australia. It made the front page on all three locations.

While CPL have agreed to refund lucksmith, there was doubt cast upon the user’s claims from the rep. It’s a lesson to all companies. Don’t argue or dispute a customer’s claim in a public forum. Even if the customer is wrong, do what you can to make the customer happy. While the comments in their latest deal suggested people wouldn’t be shopping at CPL, there are currently 72 positive votes for the deal.

Tip: Block Seeing Deals from Specific Stores or Users

Tired of see Udemy posts? Don’t have an iPhone? Block seeing iTunes deals entirely.

  1.  Go to the store page (e.g. iTunes Store deals)
  2. Select one of the deals that you hated most.
  3. From a list of cryptic looking options under the main deal description, locate “Hide from Listing” and click on it
  4. Click on the checkbox “Hide deals from store iTunes Store

Be gone! No more iTunes Store deals on the deal listing pages!
See more forum posts ->

 


Picture of the Week


1073911_10151809186969131_1236222113_o

Is this the most expensive scarf in the world. Guess what? You can still buy it from David Jones at a bargain price of $99,999 with free shipping.

 

 


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Posting Lasoo Offers on OzBargain Now Even Easier

scotty on 19/07/2013 at 5:12 pm, filed under OzBargain

Most OzBargainers would know who Lasoo is — Australia’s latest online catalogues site that’s part of Salmat. They provide online catalogues for many big retailers such as DickSmith, Aldi, IGA, Harvey Norman, etc — many are also hosted on retailers’ own domains. While I have been critical on their past attempt on a community website, their catalogue site has been a joy to use. I heard that the team there, once received catalogue from the retailer, has to manually dice and slice it up to produce individual offer pages. Yes, each offer has its own page so other websites can create deep-links into it. That’s crucial in today’s social media age of sharing — I much prefer sending my friends a link to that specific product in the catalogue, than sending my friends the link to the catalogue displayed in Adobe Flash, and then ask them to “turn to page 32. See?! It’s the green one at the bottom right corner.” That would be awkward.

Not to mention that individual offer pages are much easier to share and post on OzBargain. I’ve just counted and currently we have 1,146 deals from Lasoo and associated sites posted on OzBargain. Now, sharing offers on Lasoo to OzBargain is about to get even easier.

It has been in the making since May, and big thanks to Alison, Damien and their team there for making this happen. You can now go to any offer page on Lasoo, click on “Share”, and hit the OzBargain icon to have OzBargain deal submission page pops out in a new window with many fields already filled.

For example I am trying to share this Samsung Galaxy S III LTE phone from DickSmith (probably not, as MobileCiti sold the same AU stock SGS3 4G for just $469 last month).

Lasoo Sharing via OzBargain

When we see an incoming URL from Lasoo, OzBargain will then trying to figure out which store the offer belongs to. If the same offer has already been posted before, we will then redirect the visitor to the deal to reduce number of duplicates.

Feel free to leave the comments here or join the discussion in the OzBargain forums.

This Week in OzBargain: July 5 -July 11

neil on 12/07/2013 at 1:11 am, filed under OzBargain, Weekly

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

603

285

50 Free 10x15cm Prints with Free Shipping @ Snapfish

Posted July 5 tag Home & Garden Expiry Expires October 31

183

163

151

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


Wiki

Have you had a look at our wiki lately? Here are some interesting pages:

How to get $20 back from Coles each month

As a Flybuys member, Coles will reward you with a bonus 1000 points per calender month if you choose to do a quick Tell Coles survey online each month. That is a Flybuys Dollars gift value of $5. The loophole is that Flybuys allows 4 card holders per account. This means you can do 4 surveys per Flybuys account thus receiving $20 back from Coles each time.

Mystery Bread

Can you solve the mystery of what bread they use at cafes in Sydney?

See more forum posts ->

 


Picture of the Week


dealsdirect-chart-2

After 7 years of averaging a mediocre 4 posts a month, users posted 49 DealsDirect deals in June and so far 51 for the month of July. Not sure what’s going on over at DD but let’s hope they keep the deals coming.

 

 


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This Week in OzBargain: June 28-July 4

neil on 04/07/2013 at 11:40 pm, filed under OzBargain, Weekly

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

317

160

Free Scarf and Magazine @ Boohoo.com

Posted July 2 tag Fashion & Apparel

128

99

96

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


The DealsDirect Frenzy continues

Last week, we noted a huge increase (26) in the amount of DealsDirect posts.  Will DealsDirect be the new powerhouse or is this just an EOFY blip?

dealsdirect-chart

Gym Insider Info and Prices

A former membership consultant at Fitness First let the community in on some secrets and hard sale tactics they use to sign members up. In a similar thread, users have been posting how much they pay for their gym memberships. It seems people pay as little as a few dollars a week to upwards of $30 per week. Let us know how much you pay for your gym membership.

 

Dick Smith taking money but not delivering orders

Dick Smith recently upgraded it’s website.  Over the past couple of weeks, many OzBargainers have placed orders for various items using Paypal, only for Dick Smith to lose their order including any record of payment. Their customer service department have promised to contact affected users to resolve the issues but have left most people in the dark. This has resulted in users having to open a dispute with Paypal. DSE acknowledges the issue and have removed Paypal as a payment option.  There is no ETA on a fix so it’s recommended to initiate a Paypal dispute before the 45 day window closes.

See more forum posts ->

 


Picture of the Week


 

179748_10151466312741227_1118064249_n

A user on Reddit posted this parking sign from the new Woolworths that opened up in Woolloomooloo, NSW. Can’t be real right? Apparently it is, as news.com.au investigated and found it to be legit. Surely, this must be the most expensive parking lot in the world? Woolworths responded and has now increased the free parking period to 1.5 hours with 1.5 to 2 hours charged at $25. Never underestimate the power of social media in the hands of consumers.

 


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This Week in OzBargain: June 21 – 27

neil on 28/06/2013 at 2:51 pm, filed under OzBargain, Weekly

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

244

500 Flybuys Points for Signing up to Liquorland Email List

Posted June 22 tag Food & Grocery Expiry Expires August 31

210

169

157

138

Two FREE Palmers Sample – NO FB Like Required

Posted June 22 tag Health & Beauty

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


 

Click Frenzy

The 3rd incarnation of Click Frenzy occured on Tuesday night. While their website held up, the general consensus of the deals was a bit average. On further analysis however, there were some great Click Frenzy related deals.

DealsDirect Clearance Deals

What’s going on with Deals Direct? All of a sudden they are offering seemingly below cost deals on loads of products.

  • 26 deals posted in the past week (usual average of 6 per month).
  • 11 of those made the front page.

Nintendo 3DS OzBargain Community

Join other members who are using the Nintendo 3DS by sharing your friend codes.

See more forum posts ->

 


Picture of the Week


 

3-ladies-tank-tops-3-mens-tank-tops.jpg

On Thursday, a rep posted a deal for 3 Ladies Tank Tops + 3 Mens Tank Tops, $24.99 Delivered. The oddly photoshopped picture was chosen to show off the tank tops and appeared as the thumbnail for the deal.

 


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The Death of Google Reader

neil on 27/06/2013 at 6:14 pm, filed under OzBargain, Stats

Google_Reader_logoIf I could track the time I spend on websites I use throughout the day, it would probably look like:

  • 99% Google Reader
  • .5% OzBargain
  • .5% everything else

It was to my surprise and disappointment to learn that Google will be closing Reader in less than a week (July 1). There have been countless articles on why this happened and alternatives that will take Reader’s place but I haven’t seen much on the impact on websites. The chart below shows the declining usage of Google Reader on OzBargain.

 

Percentage of traffic from Google Reader vs. other rss readers

Date Google Reader Feedly theoldreader
2009 1.21% 0.00% 0%
2010 1.10% 0.02% 0%
2011 0.88% 0.02% 0%
2012 0.69% 0.02% 0%
Jan 13
0.54% 0.02% 0%
Feb 13
0.52% 0.02% 0%
March 13
0.50% 0.08% 0%
April 13
0.43% 0.09% 0.01%
May 13
0.39% 0.02% 0.01%
June 13
0.30% 0.19% 0.02%

 

RSS-graph

 

It’s clear that Google Reader has been getting less relevant in terms of incoming traffic to OzBargain. Feedly has stepped in and has dramatically improved it’s market share. Are RSS readers dieing?

Percentage of incoming traffic from top sites

referral-graph-june

A look at our stats show that Whirlpool continues to dominate incoming traffic followed by social networking sites. RSS readers (that we can track) clock up around .5%.

Want to follow the deals via RSS?

 

 

This Week in OzBargain: June 14-20

neil on 21/06/2013 at 12:54 pm, filed under OzBargain, Weekly

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

163

145

139

119

Jack Links Beef Jerky Free Sample (FB Req)

Posted June 19 tag Food & Groceries Expiry Expires June 30

104

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


 

Charities

OzBargain has given $13,430 in our EOFY donation event. Donations were split based on user votes.

Technical Issues

We’ve had issues on all 3 of our servers this week. First the database server was overloaded, then our backup server went down, and on Thursday our web server’s clock started winding backwards.

Why do People fly Business or First Class?

The price difference between a business class ticket and economy can be huge. So why do people spend so much money on a business class ticket when they could save the money for use at their destination?

See more forum posts ->

 


Online Scams


 

This week is National Consumer Fraud Week, a week long event run by SCAMWATCH/ACCC. National Consumer Fraud Week 2013 is all about helping you ‘outsmart the scammer!’ by learning how to buy and sell safely online without being duped.

OzBargain has a number of countermeasures to block scammers and spammers from posting on our site and currently has 683 domains and 26738 users blocked on our site. This isn’t always enough and it’s important before you make a purchase to make sure you take the proper precautions. SCAMwatch has some good tips but we’d love to hear  your tips on the forum.


Picture of the Week


 

currency

The Australian dollar has fallen 5% this week and 10% since April. Will the drop in the dollar affect bargains purchased from the US (Amazon) or overseas travel? Let’s hope it doesn’t drop anymore.

 


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Cashback comparison 2013: Starthere vs. Qwibble vs. Bucksback vs. Cash Rewards vs. Chill vs. Prplness

neil on 17/06/2013 at 12:07 pm, filed under Cashback

We last compared cashback sites in September 2012. Since then, we have had three more players join the cashback marketplace.

Cashback sites are a great way to make purchases cheaper for consumers. Some websites that you make a purchase from (the merchants) are willing to pay “commission” to affiliate networks and other website publishers to gain sales. The idea behind cashback sites is, as a website publisher themselves, are rebating/refunding a portion of the commission they’ve made from the merchants back to the customers.

Merchant Starthere Qwibble Bucksback Cash Rewards Chill Cashback Prplness
Amaysim Unlimited $15.00 $39.00 $22.50 $24.00 N/A $23.00
Apple 1.00% 1.60% 1.50% 2.50% N/A N/A
Appliances Online 1.00% 1.60% 2.00% 1.50% N/A 1.50%
ASOS 3.50% 5.60% N/A 7.00% N/A N/A
Big W 2.00% 3.20% 3.20% 3.25% N/A N/A
Bonds 4.50% 7.20% 8.00% 8.00% N/A 6.00%
Booktopia 3.75% 6.00% 5.62% N/A 3.75% 3.75%
Dan Murphy’s (spirits / wine) 5.25% 7%/8.8% 8%/10% 8.75%/7% N/A 7%/10%
Deals Direct 2.50% 4.00% 5.00% 4.75% N/A 4.00%
Dell 3.50% 8.00% 3.00% 2.50% N/A 3.00%
EzBuy 1.80% 1.20% 3.80% N/A 2.25% N/A
Groupon N/A N/A N/A 4.00% N/A N/A
Hotelclub 3.00% 4.80% 5.00% N/A 3.50% 6.00%
Hotels.com -Merchant Hotel 3.00% 4.80% 5.00% 4.75% N/A 3.00%
Kogan N/A 0.60% 0.60% 0.50% NA NA
Lenovo 2.50% 2.80% 3.35% 2.75% N/A NA
Menulog-Home Delivery 1.50% 2.40% 3.00% 2.50% 1.25% 1.50%
Rebel Sport 3.75% 6.00% 7.50% 7.25% N/A 4.00%
Shoppingsquare 1.00% 1.60% 1.50% N/A 1.00% N/A
Stawberrynet -New Customer 7.50% 12.00% 12.00% 12.00% 2.00% 8.00%
The Iconic 6.00% 9.60% 10.00% 12.00% N/A 8.00%
The Mens Shop 5.00% 8.00% 8.00% 8.00% 5.00% N/A
Member Fees (annual) 0 0 $10.00 0 0 0
Minimum Cashout Amount None $20.00 Unknown None $20.00 $25.00
Pricematch No No No No No Yes
Sign Up Offers No No No No $3 credit $5 credit

Information current as of June 10, 2013.

Each company has it’s advantages and disadvantages which can affect the amount of cashback you receive.

Prplness:

Green_Arrow_Up.svg Pricematch other cashback website’s rates.

Red_Arrow_Down.svg High minimum cashout. For our sample merchants, the average rate is 4.8%. You would need to make $454 (inc $5 credit) in purchases to receive your first cashout.

Chill Cashback:

Red_Arrow_Down.svg Not many of the popular merchants listed.

Red_Arrow_Down.svg Uncompetitive cashback rates.

Red_Arrow_Down.svg High minimum cashout. For our sample merchants, the average rate is 2.7%. You would need to make $629 (inc $3 credit) in purchases to receive your first cashout.

Cash Rewards:

Green_Arrow_Up.svg Very competitive cashback rates. Top rates for 4 of our sample merchants and top average rate.

Green_Arrow_Up.svg No minimum cashout amount. For our sample merchants, the average rate is 5.3%.

Bucksback:

Green_Arrow_Up.svgVery competitive cashback rates. Top rates for 8 of our sample merchants.

Red_Arrow_Down.svg $10 member fee will eat into the cashback. Only company with a member fee.

Red_Arrow_Down.svg Unclear if there is a minimum cashout amount (company was unresponsive). Assuming no minimum, at an average rate of 5.1%, you would have to make $196 of purchases just to break even.

Qwibble:

Green_Arrow_Up.svg Competitive cashback rates. Top rates for 4 of our sample merchants

Red_Arrow_Down.svg High minimum cashout. For our sample merchants, the average rate is 4.8%. You would need to make $416 in purchases to receive your first cashout.

Starthere:

Red_Arrow_Down.svg Multiple tiers of membership.

Red_Arrow_Down.svg For new or casual users (white level), average cashback rates are poor at 3.3%.

Green_Arrow_Up.svg At the founder level (former Moneybackco members), the average is bumped up to 5.6%. Top rates for 9 of our sample merchants.

Green_Arrow_Up.svg No minimum cashout amount.

 

For the casual user Cash Rewards provides the best value. If you have founder status at Starthere then this may be a better option for you.

Always compare the merchant at each cashback site before purchasing. Rates often vary and some sites list merchants that others don’t.

 

This Week in OzBargain June 8-13

neil on 13/06/2013 at 5:15 pm, filed under OzBargain

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

187

160

Free Four Season Sample Pack (Condoms)

Posted June 12  tag Health & Beauty

143

[Origin/360/PS3] Battlefield 3: Close Quarters DLC – Free

Posted June 11  tag Gaming Expiry Expires June 16

124

121

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


 

Vote for your favourite charity

After many suggestions on charities for OzBargain to donate to, we have culled the number down to 12. Vote for your favourite charity before June 16. We will be donating $13,430 to the top 3 charities.

The real cost of cheap clothes

Last Sunday, 60 minutes aired a segment about cheap clothing manufacturing in Bangladesh. In the aftermath of the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh, there is now more focus on where cheap clothes are manufactured. As more cheap clothing deals are being posted on OzBargain, should users be asking more questions?

Free Food and Drinks

See more forum posts ->

 

 


Inside OzBargain


 

OzBargain is broken at the moment, and the backend will be restarted very very soon.

We have been experiencing a lot of issues with our database server. The database which is on a shared VPS is too busy to take requests from the web server. We are liaising with the hosting company to solve the issue.

Quick Stats

In the month of May, we had 1,527 reports from users. In May of 2012, we had 1,104. This represents a 28% increase in reports. It’s good that users are utilizing the report link. On the other hand, it seems there is still further automation that can be accomplished.

UI changes , Google +, Front Page Deal email

There were some tweaks to the UI this week. Forum (in forum posts) and Category (in deal posts) are now in secondary level menu in “active” state, and related product category tags are also added to the secondary level (for example “Game Console” in PS4 posts).

We are posting hot deals to Google+ through an automated process. Unfortunately, as there is no direct API, we have been using a 3rd party tool which hasn’t been picking up proper formatting or images.

Lastly, we will shortly be rolling out a feature which will notify users by email when a deal reaches the front page.

 


Picture of the Week


2013-Fiat-500-Review-20-e1370587285719-625x394

We had 2 new car deals hit the front page this week for a first in OzBargain history. First, the Fiat 500 for $14,000 and then a Mitsubishi Mirage for $12K.  Seems like new cars are becoming more affordable.

 


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This Week in OzBargain: June 1 – June 7

neil on 07/06/2013 at 5:42 pm, filed under OzBargain

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

153

Cerberus for Android – Free Lifetime License

Posted June 7 tag Mobile Expiry Expires June 7

111

110

96

CREATIVE T3 GigaWorks 2.1 Multimedia Speakers $44.75

Posted June 4 tag Electrical & Electronics Expiry Expires June 7

86

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


 

OzBargain EOFY Donation

It’s almost the end of the financial year. We will be donating $10,000 to charity this year plus an extra $10 per unique commenter in the discussion thread. Got a favourite charity? Let us know! Get your comments in by June 9 11:59PM.

Target employee Brodens PS3s?

A user spotted 6 PS3 slims for sale on eBay. In the description, it stated that the seller was an employee of Target. Was this another case of a seller Brodening sale items? The seller of the auction officially responded and established that these PS3s were purchased after the sale. The legend of Broden lives on.

The end of ING 5% cashback

The long running 5% cashback promotion concludes at the end of this month. Now is the time to stock up on gift cards. Just remember it needs to be in transactions of less than $100.

See more forum posts ->

Stories from Social Media

 


Picture of the Week


 

voucherh

Looks like Groupon is sending out coupons to people. They may need to up the savings. Via Whirlpool

 


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This Week in OzBargain: May 25 – May 31

neil on 31/05/2013 at 4:12 pm, filed under OzBargain

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

242

227

225

216

[PC] Humble Weekly Sale Telltale Games- Pay What You Want

Posted May 31 tag Gaming Expiry Expires June 7

215

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics


 

Coffee anyone?

We have a few good coffee deals this week.  The first from Michel’s Patisserie is for free coffee for the month of June when you present a printed voucher. According to an employee working at Michel’s, they are heavily promoting the free coffee deal and expect 15-20 free coffees a day. Let’s see if they change their tune when it’s a 100 a day. If you can’t pop into a Michel’s, The Coffee Club is also offering a free coffee with presentation of a printed voucher. Unfortunately, it’s only available at 7 locations nationwide.

Other coffee deals:

Shopkeeper angry for trying offline and buying online

Customers going into retail shops to try out products and then buying online is quite a common practice these days. Cataloger Lasoo, a promoter of many offline retailers, recently released an app to scan products in store for price comparison with competitors.  Is a shopkeeper right in getting angry over customers who are simply going to purchase elsewhere?  While users had an issue with using small stores, it seem there is less resistance from big retailers such as Rebel Sport.

See more forum posts ->

 


Inside OzBargain


 

New Badge

Users can earn badges by contributing to the community such as posting a popular deal, being chatty, or reporting deals. Our newest badge is the Not a Bot badge signifying that you have attended one of our meetups (and that you are a human).

Stories from Social Media

 


Picture of the Week


 

964684_10151698622269131_420658926_o

Earlier this week, we had a mini meetup at Cebit where we gave a few t-shirts away.

 


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This Week in OzBargain: May 18 – May 24

neil on 24/05/2013 at 4:27 pm, filed under OzBargain

 


Popular (Not Expired) Deals of the Week


 

273

FREE Coffee from Michel’s Patisserie

Posted May 21 tag Food & GroceryExpiry Expires June 30

162

Free Car Phone Holder from NRMA, NSW/Sydney Only

Posted May 20 tag Mobile Expiry Expires Dec 20

135

131

131

See more popular deals ->

 


Hot Topics from the Forums


 

Sushi Train wanted to charge 50c for a glass of tap water

One of our members was shocked when a waitress at Sushi Train wanted to charge him 50c for tap water. While most of the discussion has been mixed, it seems to be legal for a licensed restaurant to charge for a glass of water in SA. Lifehacker followed up on the story with Sushi Train stating they don’t have a policy on charging for water but that it is up to the individual store.

Xbox One

This week Microsoft announced their 8th generation gaming console. There was a bit of discussion around the Xbox One on whether Microsoft would charge you for selling/trading your “used” games. While no solid release date for Australia has been set, it seems it should be out before the end of the year. EB Games has a preorder price of $900 while Zavvi will send it for about $700 shipped. You would have to be foolish/hardcore to preorder at this early stage without knowing the release date or price that other retailers are planning to sell the console.

See more forum posts ->


Inside OzBargain


 

Melbourne Meetup

This is the part where we tell you how awesome the meetup was last Friday. Unfortunately, the day before our event, council banned the venue from hosting functions. It’s a disappointing result for everyone involved. At this point, we are awaiting any news from Bumper Action before finding a new venue.

Sydney Mini Meetup

Scott will be attending CeBit on May 29. All OzBargainers are welcome to say hi and grab a free OzBargain t-shirt.

Starthere Reviews

We have displayed Productreview reviews for stores and products for a few months. One of the issues with Productreview (and all reviews on the Internet) is knowing whether they are legitimate reviews. Many people write on review sites only if they have had a problem. Starthere store reviews are only written by verified purchasers who purchased goods or services via their cashback system. Having a look at Boohoo reviews shows a 2.8/5 rating from ProductReview whereas Starthere reviews come in at 4.5/5.

Google + Integration

We’ve rolled out automatic posting of front page deals that reach > 50 votes to Google+ . It’s still a work in progress, so please give us feedback.

 


Picture of the Week


 

Ever eaten at the OzBargain Chinese Restaurant? ;) What names do you use when signing up for freebies? Via Free JUS Food Sample from UnileverFoodSolutions

 


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OzBargain under Spam Bot Attack

scotty on 29/04/2013 at 2:33 pm, filed under OzBargain

Here are some reports from the developers :) OzBargain has been under some spam bot attack over the last couple of weeks. We first discovered the attack at around mid-April, and through our new account creation logs, we found:

  • Lots of new accounts were created with weird sounding names, strange looking @hotmail addresses and originated from all over the world.
  • Most newly created account never logged in. However for a few that did manage to come back, the first thing they did is to update their user profile to include a link to their spammy website (or sites loaded with malware, which I didn’t dare to try).
  • Going through our webserver logs reveals that they are hitting only the pages and none of the other assets (Javascript, CSS, images, etc). That pretty much concludes that these are “bots”.

We do utilise Google’s reCAPTCHA on the user registration page to stop the bots, but from our incident obviously reCAPTCHA is broken or can be easily defeated. The spam bots however, aren’t very smart either. All of them are using “Firefox/13.0″, a 10-month old browser, as their user-agent. So I ended up just blocking all Firefox 13 on the web server level and be done with it. That stopped the spam account creation pretty much straight away, although also cause some false positives.

Fast forward two weeks and on inspection of our new account creation logs, spam bot accounts are back again! It’s pretty much the same pattern, except they have smartened up and changed the user-agent to the latest Chrome! Well, due to similar behaviour, they are still easy to spot and block. We have been running some new spambot detection code on the user registration page for the last 3 days, and here are some of the stats that we have collected:

Average number of account creation attempts per hour — **320**. That’s 5.3 account creation attempts by spam bot every minute.

Three biggest offending countries — Ukraine, United States and China. Mostly from residential broadband addresses so most likely part of some spambot network.

Going forward, we’ll continue to monitor new accounts for abnormal activities.

[April Fools] New Design for Growing a Balanced & Diversified Community

scotty on 01/04/2013 at 12:01 am, filed under OzBargain

tl;dr — OzBargain has been a male dominant site for the past six years. We are hoping to steer OzBargain towards being a more balanced community with a new design.

The Humble Beginning


OzBargain in 2006

It has been more than six years since OzBargain was launched. Before I soft-launched OzBargain back in November 2006, this blog was where I shared electronic, computer and cheap prepaid mobile SIM bargains. This was an era before iPhones and Android devices. But hey, I am a nerdy guy and I love my gadgets.

After OzBargain was launched, we initially received a wave of visitors from other popular Australian forums, namely Whirlpool and OCAU. In fact Whirlpool remains one of our biggest referrer to this very day, sending 2000+ gadget-loving tech-savvy geeks to OzBargain every 24 hours. Again, mostly nerdy blokes.

Cheap,  Tech-Savvy, Geeky and MALE

The figures speak for themselves. For example, these products probably won’t be all that useful if you are a man. However, looking at the commenters and the voters — most of them  will not be able to use these products. “Female members?! What female members?!” seems to be the running joke on OzBargain, where many express disbelief sarcastically when hinted that there are actually female users on our system.

Our Facebook page statistics seems to agree as well.

Well. It does not look too bad, as there are just a bit shy of twice the males who “like” the OzBargain Facebook page than females. However, when you look at the number of people talking about OzBargain on Facebook, there are actually 3.5 times more young males (18-24yo) than females of the same age bracket (the gen-Y’s).

What does that conclude? OzBargain is dominated by its male members — not just in terms of numbers, but also in its opinions and its voice. I fear the domination here is so strong, that many female visitors do not even bother to sign up, to vote, to share or to join the discussions.

IMHO, it is actually a loss to the community. Personally, I have learnt so many saving money ideas from my wife and some female friends are the most vigorous bargain hunters I know. Without their contribution, OzBargain will continue to be in its little niche of cheap gadgets and making Ainol “that’s what she said” jokes, instead of benefiting the greater Australia.

Something needs to change!

How to make OzBargain more female-friendly?

To continue to grow OzBargain into a more balanced and diversified community, we need to make the site more female-friendly so women will be more willing to sign up and contribute.

Having no idea how to get started, I went to ask the question at SavvySME, a newly launched community website for the business kind. I asked, How to Grow a More Diversified & Balanced Community Website, pointing out OzBargain’s male-dominant nature. I got some vague answers. One said that I need to “find those pockets of people and give them a reason to come to your website”. Yeah right it’s like telling Gerry Harvey to find pockets of people happy to pay high price and bring them to shop at his store — it’s obvious but not very actionable.

Maybe, it’s just the design?

Then one day I had a bright new idea while browsing the latest deals on OzBargain (who hasn’t?!). By changing the design of the OzBargain website, it could create an environment that is more female friendly, which in turn would help OzBargain to be a more balanced community! Brilliant! I am an engineer after all who knows nothing about all that marketing fluff. Creating a new design however is at least more doable than “finding pockets of prospects and persuade them to signup”.

After a few days of testing out the new colours, let me now introduce you our new design — Pink.

Pink Theme

It’s only a start, but here are some of the changes:

  • PINK is now the primary colour. Most people are sick of the OzBargain Orange anyway.
  • Comic Sans as the primary font will definitely bring out the vibrant side of the community.
  • Love hearts on the OzBargain logo because we know how much you love it!
  • Falling animated love hearts on the home page. Can you say bling?!
  • New default avatar featuring My Little Pony-lookalike (well, until we figure out a more suitable, copyright-free avatar image)

I have briefly tested the new design with two female family members and they absolutely adore it!! (those are from my 6yo and 8yo daughters, btw). I have also shown it to my wife and she could not stop laughing which I presume that means she likes it.

That’s not all. More features are planned, gearing towards female members. For example,

  • Cosmetics, Fashion and Shoes deals automatically get +10 after posting.
  • Teaming up with other community websites such as Essential Baby and Vogue Forums, so female members can share their experiences across all the sites.
  • Inviting celebrities and popular mummy bloggers to endorse the brand.

Stay tuned! That’s all I want to say. I believe this effort will eventually move OzBargain to a more balanced community, which would be good for everyone.

Any suggestions? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

Winners of the OzBargain Short Video Contest 2013

neil on 26/03/2013 at 2:34 pm, filed under Competition, OzBargain

We are  pleased to announce the winners of OzBargain’s 2013 Short Video Contest.  The last time we ran a competition this big was in 2008, in which XyleneFree won with her Ode to OzBargain video.  This time around we had 23 entries. After much deliberation, we have picked our top 4.  All videos are embedded in this page for viewing.

Let us know what you think.

1st

ElWircho

 

2nd

ovazealous

3rd

funkymonkeyman

 

4th

m0nkeycheese

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