I’ve heard this debate for as long as I’ve been in the affiliate business and I’ve personally went back and fourth myself (literally with myself). However, I think J.C. Penny’s “No Sale” strategy flopping, as so well written in this article, is the greatest example of what I’ve heard to date…although it may be a perception, the power of a “deal” is still there. I’m not even suggesting you give away the farm but you do have to follow the methods of the customer.
If they’re going to RetailMeNot, Savings.com, Ebates, Fatwallet and other popular coupon sites then you should make it your “business” to be there. Be creative with how you start at least. If you give “Free Shipping” all year long, then at least build some banner creative to support it and supply it to these sites. Remember the key is to be found by the customer. I can go on about what this can do for you but I assume you read the article and you can clearly see what not doing it does. Learn from the past…otherwise you’re doomed to repeat them.