I had a link to discountcodes.ie sent to me last week, asking for my impression of it.

The site list discount codes for various online retailers. You get the code, type it in and you get a discount. There may also be a finder’s fee for discountcodes.ie.

It’s a model that’s well established in the UK, but less so here for some reason, perhaps it’s market size, or perhaps we’re all spending our money over in UK stores.

I actually like the model quite a lot – if you have a discount code for your own store, by publishing it on a third party site, you get a decent link (which may improve your SEO) and you get (or hope to get) an increase in shoppers to make up for the margin you’re giving away.

So, of all the shops on discountcodes.ie, what about wine?

The only one I could find was for Serenata Wines. Who? Turns out they’re a holding company who sell chocolates, hampers and flowers. I’ve never heard of them before and looking at their site, it’s pretty difficult to track down who they actually are. Being critical, the wine selection is pretty poor too. I’m not familiar with m0st of the producers and they’ve mis-categorised many of them. Clicking Rioja from the footer and I get a list of wines, not one of which is from Spain!. I’m beginning to think their in-house sommelier isn’t on the ball. Am I being unfair?

Looking beyond wine, it’s clear that there aren’t too many Irish names there, though there are some recognisable brands like “I want one of those”.

So, if discountcodes.ie is to be successful the people behind it will need to work very hard at the following two things:

1. Get reputable local stores as well as some international behemoths.

Searching Google.ie for discount codes, you can see there is no shortage of these sites. The challenge is not in building these sites, but in populating them with relevant, quality offers. That’s how you’ll differentiate from the copycats or clones.

2. And to do that you’ll need a sales force, not just an automated self-service site.

You’ll need to knock on doors, phone people and arrange meetings and you’ll also need to spend quite a bit on getting your name out there. That’s what Groupon, GrabOne, PigsBack and the other established players are doing.

And you’ll also have to compete with TradeDoubler who seem to be growing here. Oh, and you’ll also have to compete with free, in the shape of iloveshopping.ie, An Post’s shopping directory.

If you can’t do these things, you’re no more than a link farm, and if Google see it that way, your days are numbered.