As DealGuardian gets set to open its doors to the general buying public, our DealGuardian Review takes a look at the marketing scheme behind it, the vendor and affiliate model it has adopted, and we discover any discrepancies between DealGuardian’s claims and actual Terms of Service agreement.
DealGuardian is scheduled to open for consumer purchases April 25th, 2013 and so we offer this first ever DealGuardian Review. On the 15th of this month, DG gave Internet Marketing vendors an incentive to sign up early and list their products by offering them a $300 signup bonus. At the time of this DealGuardian Review, only 437 people have joined.
DealGuardian Review: Why the Small Numbers?
The small numbers may be due to a miscue by DG’s owner, Mike Filsaime. During his first promotional video (see below,) Mike mentioned having talks with PayPal and indicated that PayPal had a very negative view about the Warrior Forum, the leading Internet Marketing forum, whose members are Filsaime’s primary target for vendor and affiliate recruitment.
Warrior Forum moderators immediately reacted by deleting any and all threads mentioning DealGuardian. Perhaps not the smartest move by Filsaime, who owns PayDotCom, a marketplace where vendors have more control of the transaction process and affiliate payment process than at DG, according to our DealGuardian Review findings.
But Is Our DealGuardian Review a Bit Harsh?
So did Mike thwart his goal of having a site full of products by the April 25th consumer launch date? Maybe. But based on discussions from the DealGuardian Facebook group, as well as from policy statements from the DealGuardian site itself, the primary goal appears not to be of quantity, but of originality and quality.
Indeed, purchased PLR cannot be resold on DG period. Even items created by product creation software must only be used to deliver high quality, original content. Simple link resources passed off as software tool kits won’t cut it at DealGuardian.
Considering the Warrior Forum has a broad mix of vendor types posting their offerings – some who list only original material and others who rarely do – the comments made by Mike Filsaime may have prevented a flood of unwanted vendors from signing up all at once, saving the tiny DealGuardian support staff from having to deal with a possible quality control nightmare.
DealGuardian Review of the DG Marketplace
When you visit the DealGuardian homepage, you can’t help but think of two similar looking sites: Flippa and Fiverr. And like Fiverr, DealGuardian is based on a ratings and reviews system and withholds sellers’ money x-number of days before payout.
But our DealGuardian Review makes us believe this is where the similarities end. Fiverr is a site driven by Gestapo-like control paranoia. You can’t message buyers about new gigs on Fiverr. You can’t build a list of subscribers through Fiverr. You can’t provide support except through Fiverr. You can’t even hint about your email or external website on Fiverr. It’s an entirely closed system and probably the worst choice of platform for any serious Internet Marketer. If they decide to shut you down, you’ve lost everything.
Our initial DealGuardian review found that the site is a closed model also, but less restrictive, allowing both products and services to be sold, customers to be contacted, support emails to be provided, subscriber lists to be built, and even the external link to your website to be given under certain conditions.
During the time we made this DealGuardian Review, we found that all aspects of the actual sales transaction process happens directly inside the DealGuardian site itself:
- Sales pages are built with the editor by the seller (they can use their own code if they prefer) and hosted by DG.
- Payment buttons are auto-generated and DealGuardian uses their own merchant accounts to collect payment for purchases made.
- “Thank You” pages where sellers provide download links to the buyers are hosted by DealGuardian as well.
- Refunds are handled solely by DG and customers have 7 days to try out their purchases and submit a refund request if dissatisfied.
- Payments are both tracked by DG and clearly displayed, and payments are made to sellers and affiliates directly from DealGuardian by PayPal mass pay (a few other payment methods are available,) after a 10-day holding period (but see our cautionary subheading below.)
DealGuardian – Buyers’ Safe Haven
What we here at Favorish.com like best about DG, when we conducted this DealGuardian Review, is the buyer protection priority. Scams from sellers are impossible because all refunds are set to be handled promptly by DG. That means buyers no longer have to jump through hoops or file a dispute to get their money back from a purchase that doesn’t live up to its claim.
Another key feature we liked when conducting this DealGuardian Review is the popup slider at the bottom of each sales page. Buyers can easily view sales statistics, including refund rates, customer ratings, reviews, product FAQ and seller profiles as an aid for making a smart buying decision.
Unlike the Warrior Forum, where anyone can post a review for the seller’s product and where the first page of reviews usually consists of the sellers’ friends, JV partners and free review-copy posters, at DealGuardian only buyers are allowed to post reviews and ratings. If a product gets too many poor reviews, it’s dropped from the DG marketplace like a sack of you-know-what. And sellers with too many poorly rated products get the boot as well.
DealGuardian Review Cautionary Note
DG claims they will only hold your money for 10 days, but according to their Terms & Conditions, they can withhold payment beyond 10 days at their discretion and in cases where there is a sudden spike of sales activity. But we’ve already seen a lot of changes made to the Terms within the past two days since making this DealGuardian Review, and according to a recent alteration, it appears an additional holding period will consist of no more than a few days and happen only rarely.
Another change is that PLR ebooks or related material can now be added as a bonus to the main product, but may not be the main product itself.
The man running the show is Hector Yague, co-business partner of Mike Filsaime, and we’ve noted how hard this guy is working to get all his ducks in a row before the 25th. Most of the video tutorials were put together by Hector as well and they are excellent quality and easy to follow. He is a masterful presenter.
Support is thin but prompt. We had some confusing communication between us during one support request, primarily due to having two different staff members answer our ticket out of sync with each other, resulting in a couple of odd responses. But the issue was settled finally and clarity won the day. They never ignored us or failed to reply to any request we submitted.
DealGuardian Affilliate Program
Affiliate fraud is a major problem for most sellers and one of the inevitable consequences when selling through ClickBank. Many people who buy Internet Marketing materials have ClickBank accounts, and it’s easy for anyone to use their own affiliate link to make purchases and grant themselves an undeserved discount.
This problem is lessened to some degree by DealGuardian. Affiliates must make at least 2 purchases (maybe 3 soon) before they are credited.
Because of the safeguards, affiliates are automatically approved to promote any product on the DealGuardian marketplace. Sellers have the option to block individual affiliates, blacklist affiliates blocked by other sellers, and block affiliates with high refund rates.
Expect some initial “growing pains” from DealGuardian as it is short staffed and some of the Terms & Conditions are subject to change frequently. This is normal, but I believe with Hector Yague in charge, you can also expect a positive experience as a seller or affiliate, and certainly as a buyer on the DealGuardian marketplace.
What impact will DealGuardian have on the Internet Marketing world? My guess would be huge.
*DealGuardian has opened a day early. Buyers may now make purchases and try out this new marketplace as of today (4/24/2013.)*