Pepper - what is it and how does it work?

Community Manager438
Posted 9th Oct 2019
What is Pepper?

Pepper is the world’s largest deal sharing community. We run shopping communities around the globe, including the market leading sites in Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland, Austria, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, and India. In the UK, we’re proudly represented by hotukdeals.

What are our aims?

We want all communities run by Pepper to be the best place for consumers to go to share their knowledge, learn from other experts, and make the right buying decisions. Often that can be a decision to not buy something.

We know achieving this ambition is only possible if we continue to build and improve the community that already exists. That’s why it’s so important that all of our members and new visitors can completely trust the information they find, and easily use it to find deals and get inspired.

And we want to do it all in a way that is open, friendly and hopefully entertaining!

Where does hotukdeals fit in?

hotukdeals, along with Germany’s mydealz, were the founding members of Pepper, which came together back in 2014. Let’s travel back in time a bit to explain...

In August 2004, Paul Nikkel and Jen Nikkel set up hotukdeals as a place for real consumers to share their stories, deals, vouchers and tips. In April 2007, Fabian Spielberger had a similar idea in Berlin. He started blogging on mydealz.de to answer the question many friends asked him: just how did a student like him get a new mobile every few months?

Over the years, both communities grew rapidly and helped 1,000s of shoppers find great deals. Eventually, they reached the size where more resources were needed. Employees to check deals and moderate the communities, alongside servers and software to keep the websites live under the strain of hundreds of thousands of visitors per day.

This was the moment when Paul and Fabian decided to join forces to establish Pepper.com pooling years of experience to enhance the communities and send deals-finding global.

Since then, market leading communities, such as Dealabs in France, have joined the Pepper network bringing many more founders into the team. Plus we’ve set up new sites from scratch in Russia, Poland, and the Netherlands

Who works for hotukdeals?

Even before founding Pepper, we needed editors and moderators to make sure the site was easily usable and remained the best place to find the hottest deals. These are the teams of people that you still see today around the site, posting deals they find and commenting in discussions.

In fact, most of the team that worked on the site before Pepper still do — some of the team are 10-year veterans!

As the site continues to grow, and our ambitions to help even more people come together have grown with it, more jobs have been created. Such as...

  • People to pick out deals to publish on our social media channels and by email
  • People to improve the website’s performance, its ease of use, and to create new features (as well as bringing you all the Flamedeer fun!)
  • People working directly with retailers to create even more deals we believe will go hot

These new teams work alongside the editors and moderators, and of course this means we need supporting teams too, like HR and finance to keep the staff happy and get the bills paid on time.

Do you work directly with retailers?

Yes we do. Building relationships to get great deals from merchants is the job of the partnerships team. These deals are then fed through to the editors to assess — using a set of guidelines which we review regularly — and decide whether they cut the mustard to get posted on site. If they believe they do, it’s then up to community members to vote hot or cold — like every other deal on the site.

Editors, of course, also post deals they find themselves, particularly in their areas of expertise, and on niche products that where we work less with retailers directly.

One huge advantage to this part of the business — something we didn’t have before Pepper started to grow - is that we can get exclusive deals and early info on offers that we otherwise wouldn’t know about. There are loads of examples of these deals, like a free Revolut £10 for instance, or extra discounts off Adidas sales trainers.

We are currently working on ways to be clearer about this for users of the site, which you’ll start to see over the next few months. One big thing we hope to start is publishing our own unique discount codes — such as HOTUK20PERCENT — to enable certain retailers to give discounts specifically to our members.

What does this all mean for members?

Members are the driving force behind every Pepper site, and without them sharing deals, advice and opinions we’d not exist. All communities in the Pepper group share the same aims of being the best place for consumers to share knowledge, learn and make good buying decisions. That means we all share the philosophy of putting our members and the communities they make up, at the heart of all our decisions.

Having multiple teams in different countries provides a goldmine of people to talk to and information to share. This helps with practical stuff, like spotting and putting a stop to global trends of self-promotion, and sharing information about non-UK sellers on platforms such as Amazon and eBay — allowing deals from the better ones and being wary of deals from those we are less sure about.

More than this, we can talk about a wide variety of topics. In particular, how members and communities have benefitted, or not, from different deals and/or rules in other countries.

As mentioned, there are a number of behind-the-scenes projects underway to help us be transparent in areas that have previously been contentious, such as how we make money, and the prominence of staff in the community. You’ll start to see us making headway in those areas in the coming months - we plan to launch them before the end of the year.

We really value your views and feedback whether you agree with us or not! Everything gets taken into account and helps us do better — so please comment below.

If you want to find out more about Pepper, read this….
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