Customer Service

Groupon Clone Script Software Reviews – Part 2

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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
After receiving an overwhelming response to my initial review of some Groupon Clones out there, I have decided to write a follow-up on some more as per requests for some other Groupon clone softwares out there.

Just so everyone knows, I am not a reseller and therefore am posting my personal experiences and opinions of each script.

This post covers Wroupon, Daily Deal Builder, EponWare, Groupon Clone Pro, Groupon.comClone.com, and BuildaCouponSite.com.

Wroupon

Wroupon, a Chinese-based Singapore company, looks, feels and functions EXACTLY the same way that Alstrasoft does. Cheap, buggy, and limited in terms of payment processors. The more I look at it the more I’m convinced that one copied the software off the other. Perhaps some modifications were made, but that’s about it. Bugs like adding cities and limited payment processors are still present, and when other demo users point out clear bugs, very little is done to troubleshoot or at least respond to user comments.

Bottom line, nothing original, and substandard support.

Price: $89 for the Lite version, $350 for the full. A complete breakdown can be found here.

Daily Deal Builder

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.

Price: $400 plus a monthly fee starting at $25, can go as high as $5,000/month.

EponWare’s EponGroup

Some pointers:

  • The main website is amateurishly run on Joomla! CMS.
  • There is no free demo, rather the demo must be per request.
  • The email address for contacting them is an “@gmail.com” one.
  • “Ships in 3-5 days.” I don’t understand why downloadable software needs to take that long.
  • In all honesty, I have not tested the software to come to an adequate conclusion. I filled out the sign-up form earlier but no attempt to contact me back was made, which gives credence to the company’s non-professionalism.

It has recently come to my attention that their support is not , the code is encrypted so that it cannot be modified, is limited in functionality, and that any little change is also expensive.

Pricing:
Software: $500
Skin Design: $250
Language Mod: $150
Training: $99
Customization: $50/hour

 

My next post in the Groupon Clone series covers reviews on the following: Groupon Clone Pro, Groupon.comClone.com, buildacouponsite, and FatBit’s Groupon Clone. Stay tuned!

***UPDATE***

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

Groupon Clone Script Software Reviews

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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.

Contus Groupon Clone: How to install Contus’ GroupClone Magento-Based software

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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


We are all aware about how hot the Groupon industry is today, and how everyone is trying to get in on it. In looking for certain scripts I have found that GroupClone by Contus is, while one of the most difficult to install out of the box, one of the most powerful in my opinion since it’s based on Magento’s shopping cart.

That said, installing it again is, in short, difficult. The following install post unfortunately doesn’t do a very good job of explaining all the steps. This post will post all the correct steps in detail so that, like a recipe, albeit a complicated one, all you will need to do is follow it and presto! A Groupon Clone built on Magento!

Here are the modified installation instructions (for GoDaddy’s Shared hosting):

Pre-Requisites

  1. PHP 5.2 AND OVER (if you have a virtual machine running an earlier version of Linux LAMP, like “Grandma’s LAMP,” then it won’t work since Grandma’s LAMP for example only runs PHP 5.1.)
  2. MySQL 5+
  3. PHPMyAdmin or HeidiSQL for the database import.
  4. Strongly Recommended: Linux Hosting – NOT Windows Hosting. If you have Windows hosting that’s okay, but Linux makes it go a LOT smoother!

Download and Unzip

  1. Download the groupclone package.
  2. Unzip the files in the folder you want to install it on (root folder is misleading, you can do a subfolder if the domain name points to that subfolder in your hosting, or if you want to test the site out prior to launch).

Database Installation

  1. In the groupclone.sql file under db.zip, open it up, CTRL+F the phrase “config_data,” and change the variables in “web/unsecure/base_url” and “web/secure/base_url” from “http://localhost/groupclone” to “http://yourdomain.com.”
  2. Install the database using PHPMyAdmin or HeidiSQL with your updated SQL file.
  3. If you didn’t change the secure base URL and unsecure base URL, do it now! Go to the table “magentocore_config_data” and it should be config ID’s 2 and 3.

Connecting the website to the database

Once that’s done, you need to connect the website to the database. For that go to the following:

” /app/etc/local.xml” and give your database details

Server hostname
user name
password
database name

in the below place of local .xml file

ionCube

  1. You need to install ioncube now.
  2. Open php.ini (or php5.ini if on GoDaddy) file in the root directory.
  3. Find this line “ zend.ze1_compatibility_mode = off ”.
  4. [Zend]
  5. zend_extension = /httpdocs/ioncube/ioncube_loader_lin_5.2.so
  6. paste these lines below “zend.ze1_compatibility_mode = off “
  7. If you’re on a dedicated host, you may need to consult a Linux Server professional to install ionCube, as this saves a lot of headache.

Finding Absolute Path

  1. To find the absolute path, run phpinfo.php like this, http://www.domain.comphpinfo.php. You can find an absolute path in the list.
  2. Open_basedir | /var/www/vhosts/groupclone.net/httpdocs:/tmp.
  3. Here “/var/www/vhosts/groupclone.net/httpdocs:/tmp” is an absolute path. (sometimes it reads “empty”)

If the Absolute Path Doesn’t Appear,

  1. What you need to do then, if you set up the database configuration completely, is to go onto the site and get the following error message: “Site error: the file /app/code/core/Mage/Page/Block/Html/Head.php requires the ionCube PHP Loader ioncube_loader_lin_5.2.so to be installed by the site administrator.”
  2. That absolute path is what you need.

Placing the absolute path in php.ini (or php5.ini)

  1. In php.ini (or php5.ini), find the absolute path in this screen. And replace the path as given below,
  2. [Zend]
  3. zend_extension = /httpdocs/ioncube/ioncube_loader_lin_5.2.so
  4. To check if the ioncube installed properly use this link, http://www.domain.comioncubeioncube-loader-helper.php
  5. *****SUPER IMPORTANT***** With hosting services like GoDaddy, with their PHP 5 hosting they include a php.ini file instead of a php5.ini file. Why that is the case is beyond me. You need to RENAME (not even keeping a copy of php.ini) php.ini to php5.ini. The same applies with Contus’ software. Rename php.ini there to php5.ini. Otherwise the ionCube installation won’t work and you will be stuck!

Gaining Entry into the Admin System

  1. For some reason here there is no way to instantly set the admin username/password. What you need to do is as follows:
  2. At the table “magentoadmin_user,” you need to change the password in order to get in. Do the following:
  3. Enter the query “UPDATE magentoadmin_user SET password=CONCAT(MD5(‘qXpassword’), ‘:qX’) WHERE username=’admin'” where “password” is your password.
  4. Once that’s done, you can enter the admin system under sitename.com/admin and modify other information, including adding/removing admins.

Provide License Key

  1. Then you need provide the license key, which is very important.
  2. Without License Key, site will not load the deals, Goto: Admin -> System -> Configuration ->LicenseKey(Configuration) -> License Config, Where you can enter the valid License Key for that particular domain.

What if you’re running Contus’ GroupClone on a local Windows machine for testing?

If you are going to test the file locally, you need to use this License key for localhost.com
License Key : 3YY2YFQ3O2O3OD4PV34VQ2OPQXVPXOO1NV1FX5Q1

To change localhost to localhost.com,

Look in your hosts file (usually located under C:WindowsSystem32driversetc).
Look for the line:

127.0.0.1 localhost

Change this to:

127.0.0.1 http://www.localhost.com

Obtaining a License Key

  1. License Key will work only for that particular domain.
  2. You can get the License Key for the domain you are going to install from us , after the successfull payment.
  3. And you have done it now.

(Contact their ticket support team and get the license key. You have to confirm your domain and the license key will not be changed once you confirm your domain & get from their team)

 

***UPDATE***

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

Our favorite spam email – “Cost Effective Natural Link Building Services”

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We’ve been getting this email a lot lately. This is so annoying, but what can one do?

Dear Sir Madam,

We are a Delhi-NCR, India based, and leading web services company with main competency in link building,
working as an outsourced vendor for many reputed SEO agency based in USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

We have a dedicated team of 170 professionals to serve you. We build the natural quality and theme
based links as one-way or reciprocals links with our manual process.

We always adopt the ETHICAL LINK building process/White hat technique;
also follow the guidelines of Google and major search engine for SEO result.

We strictly work on performance basis and can assure you of getting quality
links for your site as well. Our links building service will help to increase the link popularity of your website.

We follow a Agency Client Oriented Approach in our process, as sign-up the
NDAs( Non-Disclosure Agreement), effective online project management tracking tools, timely and smooth communication etc.

We are looking forward starting a long and healthy business relationship with you.
We will be happy to AMAZE you with our work. I will really appreciate if you please let me know your link building requirement.

Kind Regards,

Sameer

P.S. This is an advertisement and a promotional mail strictly on the guidelines of CAN-SPAM act of 2003 .
We have clearly mentioned the source mail-id of this mail, also clearly mentioned the subject lines and
they are in no way misleading in any form. We have found your mail address through our own efforts on
the web search and not through any illegal way. If you find this mail unsolicited, please reply with “Remove” in
the subject line and we will take care that you do not receive any further promotional mail.

Well, they’re technically within the guidelines of CAN-SPAM, so they can do no wrong, right? Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.

Dealing With Best Buy Geek Squad

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Dealing with Best Buy’s Geek Squad can be nerve-wracking. Their staff doesn’t care about servicing their customers at all unless they make noise.

Case in point: over two months ago I brought in my Gateway laptop, which had a three year warranty, for repair at a local Best Buy outlet in Toronto. The built-in microphone was not working and the mousepad was acting a bit faulty. These were supposed to be simple hardware changes. The person taking my laptop said that there was no need to provide the software cd, since they weren’t going to reformat the computer that had data on it. Two weeks later I go into the store to find out the status of the repair and was told it was in transit and should arrive the next day. When they hadn’t yet called a few days later, my wife went in to find out what the story was. At first she was told that it had arrived in the store but had not yet been unpacked and they would have to look for it. After waiting a good 20 minutes, they say that the laptop came back to the store and when they tested it they found that the mic was not working so it was being sent back to the repair centre with priority status. About a week and a half later (four weeks from when I took it in) I am told that Best Buy had received the laptop from the hardware manufacturer, Acer, and that now I could pick it up.

I went ahead and did so, only to find that the laptop was sabotaged. Contrary to the Geek Squad agent’s promise, my hard drive was reformatted, with the non-Gateway Vista operating system installed. To make matters worse, the recovery partition for creating recovery disks was deleted, and it looked as if the way to restore the operating system was removed. After all that headache, my wife and I checked the microphone, only to find that it still didn’t work.

Angry, I brought it in a second time, and complained that a) my microphone didn’t work, and b) my computer was sabotaged since the technician assured me that I didn’t need to hand them my recovery CD. By the way, this was very sloppy service as, with anything, you cannot be too careful. In any case, I was assured that  it would be looked at by Acer again, they would use my recovery discs to reformat the computer and that we would be notified in about two weeks about the laptop. Two weeks later, Best Buy called and my wife agreed to pick the laptop up while I was at work. She told the Geek Squad person on shift that she wasn’t leaving the store until it was tested on site, otherwise she and I would show up later that day. The person asked in a half joking manner if I was bigger than him and if this was cause for him to be afraid. In any case, the technician tested the mic by clapping and snapping into it and even recording the sound from a DVD, only to be greeted with no sound – the microphone was not picking up any sound. The person on shift assured my wife that the laptop was going to be sent out AGAIN for another 2 to 4 weeks, and since this was the fourth time it would be sent out they would investigate if parts had been replaced each time the laptop was sent out. If parts were replaced every time then we would be entitled to a store credit equivalent to the price of the laptop when we bought it to be used towards the purchase of a new laptop. If parts were NOT replaced every time, they would replace the part(s) now and hope that it would fix the issue.  My wife asked the guy, well, this is already going on two months and, not only isn’t the microphone issue resolved, but the laptop now was in worse shape thanks to Geek Squad! The guy sent it out a fourth time and I picked it up a few days ago. I tested the microphone and, while you can now somewhat hear something, there’s a bit of static and an echo, even in closed places. I went back in a fury, and had to spend an hour an a half to fight with a persistent Geek Squad tekkie. I told him, bottom line, that I wanted my store credit and I would just choose a new laptop. The person said that he had to check if a) it was a “major part replacement,” which he didn’t specify what qualified and what didn’t, and b) it the part was changed 4 times. When he checked the records, he saw that, in each of the times the laptop was sent out, the mic wasn’t replaced! What about the customer service? This was what I paid a three year store warranty for? Apparently Acer ran a diagnostic on the hardware part and saw that it registered, but Heaven forbid they test it out with their voices to see if it works! Apparently, with them it’s all hardware testing, and voice testing is software testing, and therefore, from Acer’s end, “it’s not my problem.” From Best Buy’s end, it’s a hardware replacement issue, and they send it out, not claiming responsibility. Not my problem! Hah! Screw you, customer!

I therefore requested a brand new laptop, asking them, how many times do they need to send it out without the part being replaced? Does this go on forever? This is poor customer service! They replied that in order to issue me a store credit for a new laptop, they needed to contact their supervisor who wasn’t in the store, and would be available over the weekend. If he approved issuing me a store credit, then the issue would be taken care of.

I explained that I couldn’t be available for over the weekend, and if I could submit a request. They allowed me to submit it.

In the end, Best Buy found that the supervisor never checked the laptop, and even though I technically wasn’t eligible to get a store credit, they made me eligible in light of all that had transpired, in order to make me happy and stop complaining to them. I then applied this credit to a high-end notebook PC, which I’m enjoying thoroughly right now as I type this.

So, some lessons learned:

  • With anything, apply for a 3 year warranty or longer. Hardware parts are tested to last one year, and if you’re cheap and only buy a 1 year warranty, you get screwed afterward. It costs more, but it’s amazing insurance when, not if, a piece of hardware breaks down. With Best Buy, if you don’t have a warranty, they overcharge you for every little thing, whether or not it works.
  • With customer support (not just Best Buy), nobody will issue you a store credit unless you turn blue in the face from screaming.
  • Nobody will accept responsibility. Finger pointing is common, as well as saying “it’s not my department.”
  • When you see multiple people in line complaining about support, you know you’re in for a rough time.