'Tunechecker.com ltd – a new company...' blog discussion

edited 15 December 2009 at 12:14PM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
6 replies 2.4K views
This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.
Please click reply to discuss below.

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  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    allow record labels to pay for their artists to be listed in that space... But it’s not something I would want to do with MSE, so I want to keep it separate.
    I'm not sure that users would necessarily see the difference. People won't care what the company name is. It will be a Martin Lewis site with adverts on it.

    Also, what happens if someone else does something along the same lines but better. Are you going to recommend their one, or the one you are making money from? (Exactly your reasons against starting your own bank.)
  • I think that was the argument put forward by Martin Lewis against Which? and its plans to earn from selling its own brand products.

    My view is that products promoted on this site are heavily associated with affiliate schemes. American Express, for example, is not a mainstream card, it is not accepted at most of the places I shop. I've always thought the reason it tops tables on this site is because it pays out a lot of commission to affiliates so if you are drawing up a best buy table then simply leave out criteria like how many places a card is accepted from your table in order to create a listing that puts it at the top.

    A company like Vistaprint offers affiliate links you have to sign up for, agree to its terms, Vistaprint controls those links and I am sure part of the terms is not telling readers their credit card details may be sold on since Vistaprint makes 44% of its revenue from renting out its database.

    That's what is behind all these so called free offers, massive income from renting out your customer details, and as far as I am concerned this site advertises those promotions because it signs up as an affiliate and does not mention the terms and conditions for consumers. When the BBC and Channel 4 led their main evening news with TMobile's data leaks, this site did not even carry a news item despite having a news feed called Telecoms and being a registered provider of news with Google.

    So, I don't buy the whole no advertising line, although I realise you will argue otherwise.
  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    oakhouse13 wrote: »
    So, I don't buy the whole no advertising line
    They've got to make money somehow to pay for all their costs. Just imagine the hardware costs alone of hosting a site with this number of visitors.

    I'd much rather the affiliate link scheme than blatant advertising. Even if it does mean that coverage is skewed towards where best buys have affiliate links at least it is still steering people towards best buys.
    What's the alternative? An article about getting yourself out of debt next to an advert for a cowboy loan company? An article about best value credit cards next to an advert for a poor value credit card?

    I still rate the information from this site above any other on the internet, which to me proves the model works.
  • edited 17 December 2009 at 1:53AM
    MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
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    edited 17 December 2009 at 1:53AM
    Let me make it very plain.

    This sites best buy tables are based purely on what our editorial research shows to be the best product. We do not ever skew our top picks towards affiliate deals.

    The American Express card is by far and away the best paying cashback card - yet it has faults and these are explained in great detail by the article - as well as many alternatives outlined - show me another money site that does that.

    Countless MSE articles have best buys which are not affiliate links even in sectors where afffiliate links are common - take the top card for purchases, the life insurance picks on the site, and a host more - our analysis doesn't take the availability of paid links into account.

    To assert it does is an actionable defamatory allegation against both me and the site - and I would caution you against writing it both here or elsewhere.

    Frankly I find it downright offensive, we explain clearly how the site makes money http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/funding we are I believe without parrallel amongst large money sites in the way we operate in picking best deals.

    We strive and campaign to work hard for consumers and the best situation. I am not ashamed of the fact the site makes money - it has 25 full time staff, huge costs, donates to charity and makes me a very good living.

    Yet to slur my and the sites reputation is unfounded - we wouldn't allow such untrue statements to be made about someone else and the fact this is my website doesn't negate that.

    The accusation that we didnt cover the data breach story for some nefarious reason is frankly laughable - we do three news storys a day - and surprisingling for MoneySavingExpert.com they're generally focused on MoneySaving. Data breachs is an interesting news story - but then again so are MMR vaccines but we tend not to cover them. To say this site shys away from taking companies on for some type of vested interest reason is if you forgive me rather deluded - i can't even begin to argue it - its so far from any form of empirical analysis.

    I would ask posters to remember that.

    As for the issue 'isn't this like Which offering products' no not really this isn't about a product, this is about the provision of information to find the cheapest way to buy something - that's what MSE has always done (and as noted i thought that was far more acceptible for which to do).

    The site includes other options about alternatives like spotify, and how to get cashback on the tunechecker. If tunechecker was selling MP3s I think the argument would have more validity. Tunechecker will run or fall on whether people think it offers them a good service and information and my aim to try and ensure it does so - as noted its so far from even coming close to covering basic development costs never mind servers its a long way from it - of course I'd love it to be hugely successful both traffic wise and as a business - but I built it primarily because I thought it a great tool.


    Martin
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
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  • MrsTinksMrsTinks Forumite
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    oakhouse13 wrote: »
    I think that was the argument put forward by Martin Lewis against Which? and its plans to earn from selling its own brand products.

    But Tunechecker isn't selling anything - a sufficient comparison for this point would be to say that it's like Kelkoo, Pricerunner etc but with added extras
    oakhouse13 wrote: »
    My view is that products promoted on this site are heavily associated with affiliate schemes. American Express, for example, is not a mainstream card, it is not accepted at most of the places I shop. I've always thought the reason it tops tables on this site is because it pays out a lot of commission to affiliates so if you are drawing up a best buy table then simply leave out criteria like how many places a card is accepted from your table in order to create a listing that puts it at the top.

    Amex is accepted in 99% of the places I shop... :confused: Tesco for one accepts Amex. Smaller retailers don't accept it certainly, but nearly all major shops do.
    Obviously you are entitled to your view - but on this occasion I fear it's a misinformed one.
    oakhouse13 wrote: »
    A company like Vistaprint offers affiliate links you have to sign up for, agree to its terms, Vistaprint controls those links and I am sure part of the terms is not telling readers their credit card details may be sold on since Vistaprint makes 44% of its revenue from renting out its database.

    I'm sorry are you alledging that MSE/Martin Lewis is selling on details from the MSE databases? :confused: If so I'd tread VERY carefully...
    VistaPrint btw DOES state that they can sell on your contact details (they can't sell on your credit card details - I would suggest you read up on the Data Protection Act) - they don't state it CLEARLY which I agree is a problem.
    oakhouse13 wrote: »
    That's what is behind all these so called free offers, massive income from renting out your customer details, and as far as I am concerned this site advertises those promotions because it signs up as an affiliate and does not mention the terms and conditions for consumers.
    I suggest you read the full articles... and most of the "offers" and "freebies" on MSE are infact posted by USERS... the MSE team then compiles the best offers that they see on the forums and send them out in a weekly mail. As for the T&Cs... I'm sorry I thought that it was MY responcibility to check if I was happy with the T&Cs of any company I dealt with? Surely as an adult person I would realise that ultimately it is up to me what advice I act on?
    oakhouse13 wrote: »
    When the BBC and Channel 4 led their main evening news with TMobile's data leaks, this site did not even carry a news item despite having a news feed called Telecoms and being a registered provider of news with Google.

    The clue is in the name: Money Saving Expert - Not BBC News, not ITV News, not The Times... MONEY - so why would there be an article on this site, let alone in a section called Latest Money Saving Expert News? Unless there is a section of MSE I haven't spotted yet... the newsfeed is not one copying articles from other news agencies - they write their OWN news stories on topics relevant to Money Saving.
    oakhouse13 wrote: »
    So, I don't buy the whole no advertising line, although I realise you will argue otherwise.
    Ah... but you don't BUY anything... it's FREE :)
    And if you feel that the clearly explained links with a * and alternative non affiliated links at the bottom of every article aren't ethical or moral (I can't see how but obviously you do) then there is no-one forcing you to return and taking advantage of the hard work and LONG hours put into every section of MSE and the various checking sites owned by MSE or Martin :)
    DFW Nerd #025
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  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
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    MSE_Martin wrote: »
    This sites best buy tables are based purely on what our editorial research shows to be the best product. We do not ever skew our top picks towards affiliate deals.
    Martin,

    I think the worry would be that there is an incentive to push affiliate links over something that doesn't have such links.
    I don't think that anyone is suggesting that a best-buy is overlooked because it doesn't have a paid link, or that a non-best-buy will get pushed to the top because it does have a link. On any one article you can be sure that the best-buys given are the best-buys.
    But there might be a tempation to push (via weekly email, etc) the articles where the best buys have affiliate links. I've not seen any evidence of this happening on MSE, but I can imagine other less scrupulous sites using a similar model doing so.


    To those in doubt, I give three prongs to MSE's defence...

    1. Martin's credibility.
    This site has become so popular because people know that whenever Martin Lewis speaks out he is sticking up for the consumer. People know they can trust him. That's why people come to this website and why people stick around.
    MSE couldn't afford to do anything that would put that at risk.

    2. The forum users.
    All the articles have links to discussions where an army of users have their say. If Martin promoted something less than ideal, or if he missed a good one, then they'd be on to him like a shot.

    3. The reality.
    What websites out there do you trust more than this one? If you can't think of any then I think that answers your critisisms.
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