Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New on the Daily Deals Scene: Citycents - Baltimore-Based and Completely FREE!

6/5/11 - Please note since the original posting of this article, Citycents has officially shut down. For more information, click here.

Why spend money to get a 50% off deal when you can claim it for FREE instead? That's the question Citycents wants you to ask as a new daily deals website that puts its own (very attractive, hard to refuse!) spin on saving in Baltimore.

As far as we can tell, Citycents is the first daily deals site in the nation to offer deals completely free--and their headquarters are based in Baltimore. (Score one for the home team!)

Citycents works just like competing daily deal sites, except for one very important thing. Umm, did we mention their deals are free?!

Here's how it works: One new deal is up for grabs each day from Baltimore-area retailers. You have 24 hours to "steal" the deal, which costs nothing. Once a certain threshhold of people claim the deal, it activates, and you receive a voucher for the merchant in your inbox, ready for use as soon as the next day.

Another new Citycents twist is bonus auctions. Once a deal is activated, bonus auctions -- for items like $10 gift cards toward Target or Subway -- are unlocked for bidding. You earn bids each time you steal a deal, or when you share the deal through a social network, like Facebook, and your friends then steal the deal too. Bids can also be purchased.

What we're loving about Citycents:
  • Again, did we mention it's FREE?! There's no risk to claiming a Citycents deal. Claim it and use it, or claim it and toss it. There's no cost to you either way.
  • Besides its Baltimore edition, Citycents has also debuted in Annapolis. Washington D.C. is soon to come. The Maryland-area bases are covered.
What you should keep your eye on:
  • It appears that Citycents' deals expire more quickly than others. For example, today's deal expires in three months, whereas most Groupon deals are valid for one year. Fair trade for getting it for free? I think so.
  • Citycents hasn't been live for long, but from what I've seen so far, their deals seem targeted more to young singles rather than families. Two of the past week's deals have been for Federal Hill pubs. Still, their PR person tells me they plan to have family-friendly features in the future, so stay tuned.
  • The bidding process for the auction items seems a bit complicated. In theory, it makes total sense, but then when I visit the website to actually bid, I get totally confused! Who knows, I might just be having a blonde moment!
What do you think about Citycents' new deals model? Will it affect your purchasing of deals through other sites? How so?

To sign up to have Citycents deals delivered to your email inbox, click here.


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