Moneysavingexpert.com is surely one of the top ten most important websites in Britain. But from an internet industry perspective, who would know? Those ever-so-cool Web 2.0, assymetric hair-do, skinny jean types who think they rule the web wouldn’t ever admit it (even if they flick their well-producted fringes out of the way each morning to get the latest money saving skinny from the site in secret).
I’ve seen people mock MSE for being an ugly site. And I’ve listened as folks slag off ‘publicity-seeking’ frontman/founder Martin Lewis. But there is no denying the amazing numbers. Martin Lewis and moneysavingexpert.com are playing an absolute blinder. 2.8m email subscribers. 6.58 unique visitors in October. 4,620 people in the forums as I write. 15,833 forum posts today alone. These are amazing metrics! And with the bad times just around the corner, this is a website that can only do better as a recession bites.
On Saturday I read in one of those money saving tips columns in the paper and saw this advice: “Before you buy online, check out moneysavingexpert.com for a promotional code.” Good advice. And better than the usual “use a roadkill hedgehog and a chopstick to make a low-cost toilet brush” ideas we’re used to.
For me it represented the moment I realised that moneysavingexpert has found the holy grail when it comes to building an online community: the members are doing the marketing. That’s what every cool web start-up in Shoreditch dreams off. And I look on in admiration.