With the huge boost in online shopping during the pandemic, deal-finding sites have become a major business. In 2020, Inmar Intelligence found that digital coupons surpassed printed coupons for the first time ever.
Behemoths like Goldman Sachs and PayPal have paid hundreds of millions — or even billions — for sites like Slickdeals and Honey that automatically curate coupon codes or offer shoppers cash back for making purchases through their sites. Even banks like Capital One are getting into the game.
The business model is not based on selling shopper data, according to the sites. Instead, each sale generates a commission for the deal site and for the middleman known as the affiliate…