Before I get into this post, I just want to say that I’m not asking you to do anything different to support the site. This isn’t a “please donate to help cover the cost of website hosting” kind of post or anything like that.
I’m actually writing this in response to this email I received from a reader the other day.
Just a suggestion (and again my apologies if you already have this somewhere) but if you had a “support the site” link with your affiliate links, especially Amazon, it would be very helpful. As it is I have to search for a post on Amazon and hope it has a link (it usually does).
I’ve noticed in general that when one person has a question, there’s usually more people wondering the same thing but who simply aren’t asking the question, hence this post.
If all you’re interested in is some easy-to-find affiliate and referral links to support the site, feel free to scroll to the end of this post as they’re listed there. I thought some of you might find it interesting though to get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at how this site makes money and also how much it costs to run it.
How Much It Costs To Run GC Galore
It doesn’t cost a huge amount to run this site, but there are costs involved – both ongoing and one-off. Here’s a quick breakdown of regular, ongoing costs:
- Website hosting – $10 per month
- Domain name – ~$8 per year
- Feedblitz (for email subscribers) – $99 per year (this will increase in time as the number of email subscribers increases)
- Dlvr.it (this pushes posts to social media automatically) – $99.50 per year
- Total = $326.50 per year
On top of that, I’ve spent ~$650 in recent months for tech support as I needed someone to move the site from one host to another, then to fix a few other issues. Those are hopefully one-off costs as I’ve not had any technical issues since then, but it does mean it’s cost about $1,000 to run GC Galore for the past year.
The biggest non-monetary cost (as such) is my time. I published more than 3,000 deals last year which, as you might expect, takes time. On top of writing the posts themselves, there’s the time taken to look for all the deals. That includes regular refreshing on several sites each day, scrolling through seemingly endless ads each week for grocery stores all around the US to see if they’re running any kind of deals and an average of 30-50 email reminders each day to check various things.
That previous paragraph isn’t a “woe is me” thing; I’m sure like many of you, there’s the thrill of the (gift card deal) hunt. It’s just to point out that there’s a lot of time spent working on the site which doesn’t necessarily seem obvious during periods where there aren’t many gift card deals.
I’m lucky that my wife’s a good sport because both of the following screenshots are 100% true.
Yes, I did actually say “promo code” in a sleepy haze instead of “bless you”. I’m the best husband.
How This Site Makes Money
Now we’re on to the juicy (non-chicken breast) part – how GC Galore makes money. There are three main ways this site makes money – ad revenue, affiliate links & referral links.
If you see any ads on the site, those are from Google AdSense. I don’t control what ads are displayed in those ad units – Google auto-serves those based on what it thinks you’ll be most interested in. Those ads make money in a couple of different ways.
1) Clicks – When people click on an ad, that earns $x amount which completely varies from ad to ad. Please don’t try and be helpful by clicking on an ad just for the sake of it though as that might do the site more harm than good if you just keep clicking on a bunch of ads.
2) Impressions – Even if you don’t click on an ad, having it show up on your screen makes a teeny amount of money. By a teeny amount of money, I mean a fraction of a penny – literally.
Simply visiting GC Galore therefore helps the site earn money, but please don’t feel like you even need to do that. I don’t visit blogs very often; instead, I subscribe via Feedly and read the content that way as it’s a huge time-saver. That’s why I make the full content of posts available via both email and feed readers – so that you can access every gift card deal in the easiest way possible without having to click through to the site.
In theory, I could write clickbait headlines like “You won’t believe what amazing gift card deal Safeway is running this week” which requires you to click through so that I can get ad impressions, but that kind of behavior from some sites bugs me, so there’s no way I’d do it here.
If you have some kind of ad-blocker software installed on your computer/browser, that’s fine 🙂
The other main way GC Galore makes money is through affiliate links. That’s where if you click through and buy something, the site earns some kind of commission – either a flat rate or a percentage of what you spent.
This is another reason I wanted to write this post as I think it’s important for you to know – if you use affiliate links on this site (or any other site for that matter), there’s a good chance you’re losing out. Not always, but in many cases you’ll be better off not using an affiliate link – here’s why.
If I (or any other site) has an affiliate link, that means the website you’d be buying something from has an affiliate program. If they have an affiliate program, there’s a very good chance that shopping portals have access to that same affiliate program.
Any time I include affiliate links, I usually do two things. One, I clearly label the link as an affiliate link. Two, I include a link to that retailer on Cashback Monitor so that you can see how much cashback you could earn by clicking through from a portal rather than using the affiliate link on GC Galore. I have absolutely no problem at all with you trying to maximize your return on gift card purchases by clicking through from a shopping portal rather than using a link on this site – I just include an affiliate link in case some readers aren’t as interested in making that effort – no point in leaving money on the table.
The thing is, even if you buy a gift card after clicking an affiliate link here, there’s a good chance I won’t earn any commission anyway! You know how most shopping portals exclude gift card purchases from earning cashback? The same goes for websites using those affiliate links.
For example, Amazon sometimes runs gift card deals. If you click through to Amazon using an affiliate link on GC Galore and only buy a gift card, I earn a grand total of zero dollars and zero cents. The same goes for Best Buy. Same for Walmart.
That doesn’t mean I always earn nothing at all though. For example, if you click through to Amazon and buy a Gap gift card and a book at the same time, I won’t earn anything on the gift card purchase but will earn a small percentage based on whatever you paid for the book.
There are some exceptions to the no-affiliate-commission-on-gift-card-purchase rule though. Most notably, Raise, GiftCardMall and GiftCards.com all offer commission through their affiliate programs seeing as their entire business is selling gift cards. In those cases, it makes sense for you to click through from a portal so that you earn the x% cashback rather than me.
Some sites and apps offer bonuses when referring new members, so I include my referral link on posts when that’s the case. If you’d be better off signing up some other way I’ll always make that clear. In most cases though, you’re better off using referral links as that usually offers you a bonus rather than downloading an app and not getting one.
How To Support The Site
If you’ve made it this far, thanks! Below is a list of affiliate links where if you click through and buy something, I might earn a commission depending on what you buy (see above for a better explanation about that).
Again, to be completely open about this – in nearly every case, you’ll be better off clicking through from a shopping portal rather than using one of my affiliate links. The exception, for the most part, is Amazon.
As you might well have noticed on shopping portals, buying items on Amazon will rarely earn you cashback. There are usually certain categories where you can earn cashback, but those are limited and cashback is usually only available on select Amazon products. For example, at the time of writing this post, here’s the extent of what you can earn cashback on when clicking through to Amazon from TopCashback:
If you clicked through from TopCashback and bought items not listed in the above categories, TopCashback would earn commission on those purchases but wouldn’t pass that cashback along to you. That’s not their fault – Amazon simply has strict rules about what commission shopping portals can pass on.
If you’re buying something in a non-eligible category, I’d therefore appreciate it if you used my Amazon affiliate link below. You wouldn’t be losing out in any way as there’d be no way for you to earn cashback, but I’d earn a small percentage – other than on gift cards as mentioned earlier.
I’ve provided two sets of links for retailers below. One is my affiliate link, while the other is to that retailer’s listing on Cashback Monitor. If you use my affiliate link, thank you – I appreciate it! However, I’d encourage you to not use my affiliate links (other than Amazon when you’re not buying cashback-eligible products) as you’ll be better off earning cashback yourself. My affiliate links are there because there’s at least one reader who’d like easy access to them which might mean that’s the case for more of you too 🙂
BJ’s Wholesale Club
In addition to the affiliate links listed above, here are referral links for various sites and apps. I haven’t listed below what the signup bonus/requirements are as that can change from month to month. If you’re planning on signing up using one of my referral links below, I’d recommend doing a quick search for the latest deal involving that app as that should have more information about any kind of bonus requirements (e.g. earn $x when buying $x value gift card within x number of days).
Some of these aren’t gift card related, but I figured I’d include my referral links anyway just in case you’re planning on signing up for it anyway. If you’re not sure what the requirement would be to earn a bonus with any site/app below, drop me a message through the contact page and I’ll get back to you ASAP to let you know.
7-Eleven 7Rewards – referral code is onvt2y if needed
Cash App – referral code is DVHNXBG if needed
Drop – referral code is tmtf2 if needed
Fetch – referral code is D2CA8 if needed
You do a great job… Thanks for this, I was one of the unspoken ones wanting to help. I bookmarked the post
Thanks for your transparency. I’ll try to remember to go through your link for amazon.
Thanks, I appreciate it 🙂
Will you earn commission if I make a purchase through the Amazon app, which opens after clicking on your link on my phone?
I’d assume it would, but I’m not certain – just do whatever’s easiest for placing your order.
Bookmarked. Echo the gratitude for the transparency.
Do you make anything from a new Amazon Prime subscription?
Thanks for the resource!
Thanks! It looks like they offer $3 for 30 day free trails – I’ve no idea if I’d get anything if someone then becomes a paying subscriber. Seeing as TopCashback offers $15, it’s definitely better going that route.
I’m happy to support you. I cannot even imagine the time it takes to research your posts. The ones like Fluz and one other similar one that slips my mind at the moment. Both actual step by step (about 50 of them) posts on how to get the most out of those programs. Immense amount of work. Thank you.
Thank you – I’m glad it’s helpful 🙂
Thanks for doing what you do. I wish all blogs were so transparent (those clickbait articles…ughhh). I’ll continue to support you when I can, but I also believe good things happen to good people, and you are one of them!!!
Thanks for this very honest post. I have a fledgling blog and haven’t figured out how to make any money with it yet, so this was interesting to me.
Good luck with your blog 🙂
Stephen, would you consider making buy me a coffee link? I would love to support you in that way to express my gratitude for all the time and value your website brings to people.
Thanks, I appreciate it 🙂 I’ve always felt a little averse to adding a link like that to the site, although I’m not entirely sure why!