The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is soon to launch a new daily deals website for students, with offers will being made available through social media and email.
The concept aims to mirror that of sites such as Groupon, GrabOne and Living Social in providing high quality products at low prices. Unlike the previously mentioned sites, 11% of the price of the offer purchased will go to a charity or not-for-profit of the customer’s choice.
The USI website notes that €27 million was spent on online deals; similar to those being offered by DealEffect.ie in the first six months of 2013. An 11% cut of this figure would represent almost €3 million.
While the discounted rates on offers available through the site will be between 50% and 90%, the website simultaneously aims to raise €2.1 million in its first three years for participating charities.
The site will offer all the deals customary of these sites for hotels, spa day and exclusive offers for festivals and events. Students who register to the site will specifically be able to avail of certain retail opportunities.
USI, along with Amnesty International, Youth Work Ireland and many others, is one of the 29 founder organisations that will benefit from the 11% donation factored into each deal.
The online discount business has grown increasingly popular in recent years with companies benefiting from higher footfall, while consumers receive value-for-money deals which may well turn them into valued customers.
These companies also benefit the wider community with many running bases in Ireland. Groupon’s office in Dublin city centre recently increased its workforce by 166% with the announcement of 20 new jobs.
While overall these companies have received positive press, not all have been so fortunate. In May, the LivingSocial site revealed that nearly half a million Irish customers had their personal details accessed by hackers. While credit card details were kept safe, hackers had got unauthorised access to databases containing details of customers’ names, email addresses, date of birth and encrypted passwords.
The charitable aspect of DealEffect would seem to set it apart from other similar ventures, however, other online do-gooders have found ways to incorporate charitable donations into everyday online tasks.
Search engines such as goodsearch.com will donate to the searcher’s chosen charity when the site is used and UCD graduate Brian McCormick has set up Adtruism, a corporate widget which acts as “a digital promise by that company to donate a fixed sum in direct proportion to their site traffic.”