CityPockets, Reborn as Reclip.it, Puts a Pinteresting Spin on Saving

7/5/12Follow @wroush

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paste its URL into Reclip.it (or use the “Clip It” browser bookmarklet), and the offer will show up in your personal clips folder, which your friends can also follow. Reclip.it automatically figures out when the deal will expire, and removes it from the site at the appropriate time.

Yeoh calls Reclip.it “a social discovery site for the deals that matter to you.” Given that most of the images in coupons are canned product shots or brand logos, the site isn’t as nice to look at as Pinterest. But it’s far more visual than traditional coupon sites. (Coupons are one category of things, by the way, that people don’t seem to share much on Pinterest itself. “Pinterest is about pretty pictures, and a coupon is not pretty,” says Yeoh. “It’s a different mentality.”)

Yeoh and Fung opened the site to a group of beta testers in March, and they’ve already attracted a community of coupon bloggers who are using Reclip.it as a new social-media promotion tool for their own blogs. One of the most popular coupon bloggers using Reclip.it is “Cents”able Momma, aka Corrie Cole, a stay-at-home mom in Livonia, MI, who runs a popular coupon blog for Lifetime Digital Media, the Web wing of the Lifetime cable network. Cole’s Reclip.it folder has nearly 5,000 followers and showcases everything from $4.99-per-year magazine subscriptions to free MP3s at Amazon.

Many coupon bloggers formerly re-posted some of the deals they discovered on Facebook, but Yeoh says that channel has become less effective as Facebook as altered its “EdgeRank” algorithm to throttle back the number of updates that show up in bloggers’ friends’ news feeds. “People follow these sites to find promotions, but fans can only see about 6 percent of their updates on Facebook now,” says Yeoh. “That’s why we felt like there needs to be a separate service [for coupons]. On Facebook, you are there to see funny pictures, you are not there to pull out your wallet. Same thing for Twitter—you are reading articles and following celebrities, not shopping.”

Reclip.it is a free service, and Yeoh says the company isn’t focusing yet on earning revenue. When the time comes, the startup has several options. One would be to collect affiliate fees on e-commerce purchases initiated through the site, as Pinterest does. Another would be to let brands and chain stores set up their own folders on the site for a fee.

But what’s most interesting is the data the company is collecting on its users and the type of products they’re clipping and browsing. That’s information that could eventually be used for targeted advertising by big brands. “There are a lot of people who want to reach our audience of moms,” Yeoh says. “It’s the demographic that controls 85 percent of household spending power and the one making the purchasing decisions.”

Speaking of coupon clippers, Yeoh says she’s been surprised to find just as many frugal moms in upscale Mountain View as she did in diverse New York City. “You would think that here in the heart of Silicon Valley, that there are no coupon clippers because everyone is pretty well to do,” she says. “But we found out that there are thousands of insanely obsessed coupon clippers here. One of our users is a woman whose husband works at a startup that just raised $24 million and makes six figures. She doesn’t need to clip coupons, but it’s the thrill of it, the psychology of saving money. So we are not just making a Pinterest for coupons—-there is a real offline behavior here that we are trying to bring online.”

Yeoh and her team shut down CityPockets at the end of June, and they’re now busy finishing up the 500 Startups curriculum. (Demo Day for the summer term is coming up July 17-18.) Eventually, Yeoh says, Reclip.it could come full circle and start featuring daily deals from Groupon, LivingSocial, and other services—but first they’ll need to add a way to filter deals by geography, since most daily deals are local.

Eventually, Yeoh hopes Reclip.it’s pivot will turn it into “the first destination that somebody comes to online when they want to buy something.” That’s a bold ambition—but the company has moved a long way to make it happen.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • Rita

    They key to their success hasn’t changed. They need to become the next CouponCabin. Not just in product, but in actual dominance of search engine results. The problem is they once again have no unique “content” (product doesn’t count, Googlebot is dumb like that). I think they will fail in 1.5 – 2 years, but their optimism will cloud their judgement for at least a year.

    • Vicky

      So I was right and wrong. They failed but it took them just a year. All the talk of term sheets, and venture capital, and Silicon Valley really clouded their judgment, didn’t they also claim their users “engaged more” with Reclipit than Pinterest? Again, all ego metrics, and no revenue.