Groupon Clone Script Software Reviews

Note: Due to the age of this post as well as the evolution of the Groupon clone/aggregator system, RJH Solutions will no longer offer support for these systems. The “writing on the wall” was seen when Groupon’s CEO was fired early 2013. In the meantime, please continue browsing the rest of the site. -Rafi

Groupon has been incredibly successful as a business model, as it had been offered a significant amount of money by Google and they turned them down! An Israeli company, Grouper, was offered something like $15 million. As a result, many niche groupon clones have emerged.

Most of these clones use a piece of software from off-shore locations like India and China. This post will cut to the bottom line about some of the most popular softwares out there.

This post covers Contus’ GroupClone, AlstraSoft, Agriya, Couponic, GetSocio, and GroupScript.net. This also addresses what I find as limitations with each script, a buyer beware disclaimer, and my experience with Off-Shore companies in general.

Contus GroupClone.net

Contus is an India-based company that has built it’s software on Magento’s shopping cart platform. Since it’s based on a well-established shopping cart, it’s incredibly stable and secure. Not only that, but if support cannot be found at the Contus website, some Google searching on Magento forums will generally yield satisfactory results. Not to mention that there are more plugins for Magento than any other shopping cart.

The down sides are that a) it’s fairly difficult to install straight out-of-the-box (ionCube needs to be installed, b) it requires a minimum version of PHP 5.2 installed, and c) it, like Magento, runs slow on shared hosts and requires a dedicated host to load normally. Also, GroupClone is not a plugin. Rather, it’s a mutation of Magento. Once installed, though, it runs well.

***UPDATE***

After working on a few Groupon Clone websites with Contus GroupClone installations, I found out that this software too has its share of bugs. I also found that, while they usually are very responsive in their ticketing system to simple changes and requests, the larger problems will usually receive responses like “we are looking into this (a not getting back),” “That feature (bug fix) is not available in our installation. Please contact business development for customization changes,” or “look at our forums.”

Bottom line, I fully support the script as it’s built on Magento, but for “full” Magento support, it’s recommended to contact a more local agency specializing in Magento for many obvious reasons. Love the script, don’t so-much-like the support or various bugs found within.

Price: $500 plus $400 custom home page design.

Note: there’s an alternate website, called bestgrouponclone.com, that markets the same software at $100 less. Warning: this site is a scam as a certain Javad Farooq purchased the script and he had essentially hacked the script to sell for cheaper. You get no support, and he takes “Western Union” or “Moneygram,” both red flags.

AlstraSoft

AlstraSoft is a China-based company that produces another poor-man’s GroupClone software (example: dealdipp.com). It’s demo presentation is impressive, however, there are many bugs. Included are:

  • Adding cities is a pain and generally ineffective.
  • WYSIWYG editor doesn’t allow for plain text.
  • Cities are difficult to add when using a different character set.
  • When adding a website, you need to type in “http://” before the website, otherwise it doesn’t work.

Price: $178, but a 15% discount coupon code is available by typing in “AS15.”

Agriya

Agriya is an India-based company. It’s groupon clone script looks clean from the front-end, yet the back-end is cumbersome. Problems include sending coupons to everyone.

The script is built with the CakePHP framework.

Price: Varies. Plus, they charge “through the roof” for every little change.

Couponic

Couponic is a Russian-based company that has a nice front-end, but a less-than-intuitive back-end. This script is built on the “Yii” framework (http://www.yiiframework.com/), which is not the most commonly used.

Price: $200 base price, $35 for each add-on.

GetSocio

GetSocio is a script where you let them do all the work and you’re essentially renting Groupon services from them. Short-term it makes sense, but not long term.

***Update:***

I recently was notified that a number of people have utilized GetSocio’s services, as it’s already hosted and quick to set up. The concept behind it is that, the more you grow, the more they should grow as well. Makes sense. While I personally am an advocate of one owning ones code, others apparently don’t care just so long as they get a site up and running quickly. And, it’s reported to be stable, so I have nothing negative to say about their functionality.

Price: Rental

Subscription fee: $15/month (first month is free)
Transaction fee: 5% of buyer payments.

GroupScript.net

GroupScript is a Bulgaria-based company that sells a groupon clone. The back-end interface looks simple and intuitive like WordPress, but when digging deeper one sees a lot of technical limitations and over-simplicity. The front-end drop-down cities menu looks amateurish compared to its competitors.

Price: $400

Limitations with each script

One limitation I have seen is that, once you buy someone else’s script, you’re at the mercy of these off-shore developers.

Another one that I’ve seen is that each of these scripts are limited to only one currency. Should you want to expand globally and use different currencies, you’re stuck and you need to basically re-create the script on a new domain/subdomain, which is a pain.

Also, should you want to have multiple language versions of a site each of these scripts out-of-the-box don’t support that.

Finally, save for Contus which is based on Magento’s shopping cart, your choice of payment processors is limited. You can add more processors at an additional fee.

Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)

Buyer Beware: one of the most common trends I’ve seen with each script is that, once you pay for a script, you can’t get your money back. Their reasoning is logical: one you downloaded the code you can use it or redistribute it without the seller’s consent. So if you’re unhappy with the script, you’re stuck.

Off-Shore Experience in General

In general, my experience with off-shore companies has been dual-sided. On one hand you will pay a fraction of what you would pay in the United States or Canada, but at a price. For one thing, the hours difference is huge. To call India during support hours, for example, you need to be up from 1 AM to 9 AM in EST time zone. That’s a big issue when you need to get up for work the next day.

Another is that, while people in India and China know English, they don’t speak the same language. English is not their first language, and there can be serious miscommunication. You generally need to illustrate your problems with screenshots describing any issues you have.

The best solution is custom. Build one from scratch, utilize a framework or go with a CMS like Drupal which can be customized for about anything.
Hope this helps.

 

 

***UPDATE***

Read the next section which covers Wroupon, Daily Deal Builder, and EponWare’s EponGroup.

We now build PInterest clones! Click Here for my PInterest Script Clone Reviews.

Comments

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  • Mark

    Hi,
    Firstly I have searched the internet like a headless zombie looking for a review like this! I would say this is just AWESOME!!.
    However, I still cannot make my mind up as to which script to use. This is mainly due to a variety of reasons..
    1) Financial constraints(I’m a uni student, hoping to start entrepreneurship at young age, and to prove that not all business requires loads of money to start up)
    2) I have some knowledge in html scripts, php and MySQL, so I guess troubleshooting will not be that difficult, though it puts alot more pressure on me and my studies.
    3) I need something simple that I can edit if need be.
    4) Get Socio is great, but I need my own financial freedom.

    I had my head pointed out towards contus, but that’s alot of money for me :(, and the thing is I study abroad, so investing alot and then leaving will be kinda troublesome. However, now I’m starting to lean towards “couponic”..What do you think is a great solution for me??

    I know I have expressed my self in a sketchy kind of manner, but that’s coz I gotta rush to class :P..Hope someone can help me out on this, id be forever greatful!
    Thanks
    Mark.

    • Anonymous

      Hi,

      This is the thing. I’ve personally tested out, and I mean purchased and tested with the back-end code, Alstrasoft and Contus. I’ve also spoken with people who have tried out Agriya and others. With the rest all I needed was to look at the back-end, the support forums, and the customer service response rate to make my decision. Out of all of them, I personally found Contus the be the best, you really are getting what you pay for. However, to properly install it you really need to know what you are doing. Ideally, custom is the way to go, as you get all requested features and “own” the code. However, you need a lot of time, patience, and money for that to work out.

      Couponic actually doesn’t sound like a bad choice for someone budget-strapped, as it’s built on an existing MVC PHP framework, and therefore has cleaner code for an outside developer to come in and troubleshoot. However, I have not tested it out, so should you go that route, a quick feedback on it would be greatly appreciated.

      There are a couple of other softwares that I haven’t reviewed yet but intend to in the near future. Stay tuned!

    • Anonymous

      Hi,

      This is the thing. I’ve personally tested out, and I mean purchased and tested with the back-end code, Alstrasoft and Contus. I’ve also spoken with people who have tried out Agriya and others. With the rest all I needed was to look at the back-end, the support forums, and the customer service response rate to make my decision. Out of all of them, I personally found Contus the be the best, you really are getting what you pay for. However, to properly install it you really need to know what you are doing. Ideally, custom is the way to go, as you get all requested features and “own” the code. However, you need a lot of time, patience, and money for that to work out.

      Couponic actually doesn’t sound like a bad choice for someone budget-strapped, as it’s built on an existing MVC PHP framework, and therefore has cleaner code for an outside developer to come in and troubleshoot. However, I have not tested it out, so should you go that route, a quick feedback on it would be greatly appreciated.

      There are a couple of other softwares that I haven’t reviewed yet but intend to in the near future. Stay tuned!

      • All,

        I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

      • All,

        I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

  • Doug

    I’m right there with you Mark. I’ve been looking for months and this review has helped me narrow it down. I’ll be going with Contus, if they I have a POT file for translation and if they can incorporate our Polish payment gateways. I’ve sent off a request to them for info.

    Cheers,Doug

    • Anonymous

      Hi Doug,

      Thank you for your comment as it tells us that our efforts in posting on our blog are not wasted. If this post or any other has saved you a lot of time in looking for answers. Please click on the “donate” button on the top right of the page and donate some money. This way, we can continue investing in this type of research!

      Many Thanks,

      -Rafi Hecht
      Owner, RJH Solutions

      • Matt

        Hi Rafi,

        Great review! Like yourself, I’m also based in Toronto and looking to start a very niche deal site. A similar concept was launched in the US late 2010 and received quite a bit of funding in April 2011 to grow. I think the concept would work very well in Toronto.

        Unfortunately, I don’t have the coding knowledge/skills nor the funds to create my own custom software. I’ve been researching various ‘out of the box’ scripts and found your post very helpful.

        I was wondering, have you heard of a company called Daily Deal Builder? They are from the states and launched in January 2011. I was wondering what your thoughts are on their product.

        Thanks in advance.

        Matt

        • Anonymous

          Thank’s Matt. In due time I will expand this list to include more clones like Daily Deal Builder, Wroupon, etc. In other words, it’s still growing, but I chose a list of the most popular products.

          Daily Deal Builder looks from the outset like another stable Groupon clone, but at a relatively steep price. The starting price is $400 for the script PLUS a monthly fee for subscribers, starting at $25 a month, going as high as $5,000 a month for over 1 million subscribers. And, who’s to say that a significant percentage will make purchases to justify this cost? It can become a costly choice.

          As far as functionality goes, I don’t see how it’s functionality differs from other Groupon clone sites I’ve encountered, save for the optional YouTube video upload instead of an image. Payment gateways are limited to Paypal standard and a generic credit card processor. Not only that, but it seems that you’re limited in choices of design and cities/countries, and they’re essentially hosting/owning the code for you. I personally wouldn’t recommend that in case various scenarios occur, such as code base change, or even the minute chance that the company goes out of business.

          Also, there’s a base currency setting per site. What if you intend to expand your business globally and use different currencies and time zones?

          Again, my personal take is to have control of the code you own at a decent cost. $400 plus a monthly fee starting at $25 for code you don’t even have control over is in my opinion a bit steep, even though support is within the United States time zones.

          Hope this helps.

          • Kaprishi1

            Dear Rafi, First of All God bless you , for the kind work that you have done. GroupOn is an idea that was there on earth in dormant state and one day a brave person implemented that idea and it became so successful that people with money constraint or having the feeling to do something on their own can inherit this idea and make it practical in their community. Now turning back to script, I yesterday only got the script from contus and i’m right now struggling to instal it on my local pc(having XAMPP) before moving on to website. I’m really thankful to Mr Rafi for initiating a blog tha has proved helpful for everyone. I will continue to read his advises..

          • All,

            I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

          • Ernestagb

            Really liked the piece you did on the Groupon Clones scripts. So, in your opinion you feel that the Contuss site is the best of those you have reviewed. On a shared server does it run real slow?

          • All,

            I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

  • Margie

    Hi 
    Thanks for the reviews Rafi. Also looking for months to purchase a group buying software and do not have the programming skills and time to build my own. Have looked at several demos like Contus, Couponic, Alstrasoft and just recently stumbled on EponDirectory which in addition to the deal site also offers city guides, business guides, classifieds, advertisements…
    Due to the multiple income streams I am now leaning towards the EponDirectory. I was wondering if you have heard of this software and what your thoughts are on the software. Thanks, much appreciated. Margie

    • Anonymous

      No problem. As we speak I am working on a follow-up review  on more products and will include EponDirectory to the list.

      Also, I am working on a pricing structure for installation that should make sense to everyone should anyone desire my programming services. Stay tuned!

      • All,

        I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

      • All,

        I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

  • Doug

     I wanted to come back and add a few thoughts…

    About 4 weeks ago I hooked up with a couple of people who have invested in and bought the eDirectory system.  They forked out $1700  + another $1800 in translation and other various changes and NONE of them allow for the actual ‘sale’ of our promotions.  In the last week I’ve been messing with it and being the communications link for my new partners(they speak very little English) and come to find out eDirectory’s support is horrible.  Plus, they charge you an arm and a leg for every little mod.  We wanted to ad a newsletter sign up…. 8hrs.  Implement a payment option before printing deal coupons, 18hrs, ad our payment gateway – 12hrs.  At $200 for 3hrs…this is pretty nuts.  Especially when they probably have the new letter script in a zip file somewhere.  PLUS, the php is all scrambled or in “eDirectory morse code” which means not just any php programmer can jump in and modify it.  It’s really a nightmare to be honest.

    Beware…Epondirectory is either eDirectory getting ready to rebrand because of bad reviews and poor customer service ratings or someone stole the script and is reselling it.  This really does look like eDirectory.  No, not look like…it’s a twin.

    Since I posted a week or so ago I’ve contacted contussupport and they’ve actually called me 3 times to follow up and answer questions.  Ya, they called me on the phone here in Poland and the person I’m speaking with is Extremely knowledgeable and very helpful.   We’re looking forward to buying their script next week.  They are including the translation to polish(one language is included with the script) AND implementing our payment gateway.  They also have a very nice video on their site showing off their developers and their 100+ programmers.  We’ll probably be setting up a custom job board also using them.

    I hope some of this is helpful and I wasn’t out of line in my tone on eDirectory.  I’m just not too impressed at all.
    Doug

  • Dominic

    This will be helpful for me

  • We are rapidly working on http://grouponclone.contussupport.com to aggregate daily deals from group buying websites around the world.

    • Anonymous

      How soon? Also, what needs to be done to update the Magento back-end? That component needs to be upgraded to support the various Magento plugins involved.

      • All,

        I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

  • Joe

    Doug from Poland is a fictional person. On a w whole it’s just hidden-advertisement of contus software – whose most clients (their portfolio is like a joke) have non – working sites. Of course they are not responsible for effects of customers but It’s still saying something.

    • Dougm1966

      Actually Joe…I’m not some fictitious person from Contus and I actually didn’t go with Contus because on other forums I found that they have problems with Payment gateways and that is something we needed.

      Sounds like Joe may be from Contuses competition. (Just kidding, but you should really know what you are talking about before you run off at the mouth.)

      • Maciej

        Cześć, Doug. Jesteś z Polski, to proszę odpisz mi coś po polsku. I jak możesz zdradź na jakiej domenie chcesz postawić skrypt.

        I asked Doug something in polish, we will see his answers if he’s really guy from Poland. Im talking for couple days with contus – my last question during discussion with contus employee is waiting already 22 hours to be answered – that’s how they treat potential customer.

        • Maciej

          for my criticism, it’s how contus employee use this forum as argument with customers

          [2011-06-24 10:14:38] karthick suryaprakash: alright
          [2011-06-24 10:14:38] karthick suryaprakash: http://www.rjhsolutions.ca/2011/06/17/groupon-clone-script-software-reviews-part-3.html

          http://www.rjhsolutions.ca/2011/05/20/groupon-clone-script-software-reviews-part-2.html

          http://www.rjhsolutions.ca/2011/05/04/groupon-clone-script-software-reviews.html
          [2011-06-24 10:14:52] karthick suryaprakash: just view these reviews

          • Maciej
          • Doug

            Maciej,

            I understand your Polish, not a problem but I can’t write in Polish and I’m not going to waste my time using the translator.  If you want you can just call me….. on 511008668.  If you want a little evidence as to my being in Poland…. you can check out another one of my sites…pocketchalker.com.  It’ll be redirected to a bisi site….it’s my billiard shop.  Just go to my contact page…you’ll see a bit more about me.

            In a nutshell….The contus script uses magento…as you probably know.  Magentos plugin for Platność.pl is for an older version of magento.  Contus want’s $400 to update the script.  Płatność is the only payment gateway in Poland that will allow for the situation where if not enough are sold then the deal doesn’t charge everyone. 

            If you want more details, just give me a call.

            Pozdrawiam,
            Doug 

          • Anonymous

            $400? At $10 an hour, that translates into 40 hours to update the script for just one user, then for them to make it freely available to every new user? Unbelievable!

            Remember, Contus may in my opinion be “the best” out there, but “the best” is all relative to what else is out there.

          • All,

            I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

          • All,

            I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

          • Anonymous

            A couple of comments about the link:

            1. The blog is on Couponic’s forum, already a biased source.
            2. Contus is far from a perfect script – there – I said it! But compared to the other off-shore Groupon Clone softwares I’ve seen, it’s relatively the best one I’ve seen and tested so far. Lots of features and flexibility, plus they have very good support in terms of both their ticketing system and skype channels.
            3. Ideally, creating one from scratch is the way to go provided you have the time, money and resources. I’ve seen some great Groupon clone sites out there either built on Drupal, a PHP Framework, or custom. Clearly those customized scripts are not for sale. Therefore, the next best thing is to find the best pre-built software out there to fit ones needs.

      • Anonymous

        Doug,

        One of the biggest reasons I chose Contus was because it’s based on Magento shopping cart, which is one of the most recognized out there and has a slew of payment gateways and extensions. So, I don’t understand your comment about them having payment gateway problems.

        That, plus its relative ease of use made it my favorite as the bottom line in any business is to make sure that money is coming in.

        There are a few others I like as well, and might add them into a “4th part” of this series as an extra.

  • Joe

    Doug – his posts are from contus – script producer

  • Anonymous

    But how does your support compare? At least with Contus their support is excellent and timely, and in my experience they can customize it with speed.

    It’s all about the support.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s the thing: how do you get around a) the licence key that ties in with a specific domain name, and b) the support?

    I love how people say they can sell the same software for cheaper, but forget these details.

  • Alf

    don’t know why my comment has been deleted, I was just offering people who wants couponic’s modules a bit cheaper to contact me. I think this is blog pro contus and against other scripts. If you want to get couponic modules (referral, mailchimp, discussions, facebook, gift) cheaper WAY cheaper, contact me at

    • Anonymous

      It has nothing to do with that. This blog post is for informational purposes, not for people to sell or resell their wares.

      At the end of the day these software companies work hard to produce a script and if there’s no redistribution patent on each software, there should be.

      • Alf

        Well, is not warez, I didn’t get it from any warez site, I got it myself and I had to save for about 3 months to get the modules I wanted, along with the script, it’s just a matter of helping some other that can’t afford the modules they want at $35 each, it may not be expensive for you but it was quite expensive for me, and I’m sure it is for lots of people out there.

        • Anonymous

          Well, unless you have a written agreement with the software company to resell, I believe that’s illegal. Your intentions may be well-meaning, but you’re hurting others who put hard work into the script.

          The other alternative is to place a discounted Couponic script on your Groupon clone site at a discount and give Couponic a percentage of the sales 🙂

          • All,

            I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

          • All,

            I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

  • Jdnorton

    thank you

  • spookers

    Is anyone familiar with Oorjit? If yes, what are you thoughts in comparison to the products already reviewed in this list?

    • chapetes

      Is very complete platform

  • Tito

    Thanks man, GREAT information. 

    For the ones who want to use getsocio; think twice. Why?
    1. They aren’t responsive. (test it by sending an email)
    2. They don’t make any contracts (what if they shut down your service? what if they decide to increase the commission to %90?)
    3. You wanna add a payment module? Prepare $2000.
    4. You wanna add another payment module? Prepare another $2000.
    5. They’re actively working on code, and you don’t know what they’ve changed until you see it on production.
    6. You wanna have another account with same payment modules? Prepare $4000.
    7. You wanna leave the system? You’ll get only the data they give to you.
    8. Their commission is HUGE: 5%. After paypal or bank commissions and this one, you should consider to open a Pizza shop.Hope it gives you some idea about Getsocio. On the other hand, they seem to be the best option out there. Life is just not fair…

    • Thanks Tito.

      • All,

        I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

      • All,

        I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

    • Lera

      Actually, it’s not quite so – $2.000 is a pre-payment for the service, all custom works are done for free, once the payment system is integrated it becomes available for everyone at no cost. If you leave the system, you download all data you have generated – subscriptions, users, deals, orders. Commission can be 4% or 3% with higher sales volumes.

  • Hi Rafi, thanks for providing a review of Agriya, I noticed that you said you have purchased from Contus and Alstrasoft but relied on 3rd party sources for your review of Agriya’s GroupDeal. I can try and arrange a complimentary copy for you to review if you are interested? Whether the review is good or bad at least people know that you have tried the script and would be better informed.

    • Farook

      Yes! Agriya’s groupon clone script is better than any other thing. Thanks.

      • Wouldn’t know.

        • All,

          I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

    • Farook

      Yes! Agriya’s groupon clone script is better than any other thing. Thanks.

      • Wouldn’t know.

        • All,

          I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

    • Still have not receive the copy.

    • Still have not receive the copy.

  • Matija

    I think I will end up going with couponic for my groupon clone. (http://uniprogy.com)

    Mainly because they seem to be the only clone script with an active forum so I hope to be able to solve smaller problems through that.

    • Hi Matt,

      If you’re interested we can set it up for you.

    • Hi Matt,

      If you’re interested we can set it up for you.

  • Mohammad kabir

    I have Agriya’s GroupDeal Software License on sale ($200
    discount). I am selling this as our client put their deal site on hold. Please
    contact me atmohammadkabir@gmail.com if you are interested.

    • All,

      I am working on a Groupon Clone E-book. On my site now is a newsletter subscribe page. Go ahead and hit “subscribe” and you will be pre-notified about the release of this E-Book.

  • Senthil Kumar

    Loading speed was the biggest set back for my ecommerce store. Contus bailed me out using their cloud expertise. Kudos to their support and development team.