Pepper - what is it and how does it work?

250
Posted 9th Oct
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….
Official Announcements
Top comments
Bring back FS/FT forums and nominate reliable and regular users to monitor that section instead Mods.
I would've preferred the title to be 'Pepper - What's the worst that can happen'?
ashmac09/10/2019 12:10

The site these days is more about making money than saving it Sad times



magicjay198609/10/2019 12:11

Any specific reasons why you think that?



Paying people to post deals springs to mind.
Edited by: "fearona" 9th Oct
Planty72015/10/2019 12:23

I have used the site for about 12/13 years, to save money but wasn't a …I have used the site for about 12/13 years, to save money but wasn't a prolific poster of comments or deals


Ryan Giggs would have been proud of that body swerve.

So you were a poster of deals then, prolific or otherwise. So why the name change? Why the need for anonymity now you're admin?
Edited by: "deeky" 15th Oct
250 Comments
Bring back FS/FT forums and nominate reliable and regular users to monitor that section instead Mods.
Stop spamming deals from your partner consumers.

I don't care that packed direct is running a the same deal on a different colour suitcase every other day.
awiew09/10/2019 11:27

Bring back FS/FT forums and nominate reliable and regular users to monitor …Bring back FS/FT forums and nominate reliable and regular users to monitor that section instead Mods.


There were a few reasons why the FS/FT section was removed (coming up to 3 years ago) and if you didn't see the original announcement you can see it here - hotukdeals.com/fee…786 We won't be looking to bring back this section.

This might not seem a very informative response but as I say, the discussion is all contained in that thread i've linked. This is a completely different topic.
adam_holcombe09/10/2019 11:34

Stop spamming deals from your partner consumers. I don't care that packed …Stop spamming deals from your partner consumers. I don't care that packed direct is running a the same deal on a different colour suitcase every other day.


We've had 6 Packed Direct deals from the past month and 3 of those are from members so it isn't as frequent as you suggest.

I've said this before in another discussion but editors do not have targets to meet for merchants. If they do not believe a deal is worth sharing they won't post it.

Of course there are a few deals for this merchant posted by the editors but look at the heat and traction on them (as voted by the wider community). Why should they stop posting something the community clearly like?
magicjay198609/10/2019 11:34

There were a few reasons why the FS/FT section was removed (coming up to 3 …There were a few reasons why the FS/FT section was removed (coming up to 3 years ago) and if you didn't see the original announcement you can see it here - https://www.hotukdeals.com/feedback/for-saletrade-fst-forum-changes-important-2618786 We won't be looking to bring back this section.This might not seem a very informative response but as I say, the discussion is all contained in that thread i've linked. This is a completely different topic.


Slightly off topic however FS/FT was removed to make way for new changes such as the Pepper program. Another reason for its removal was because it was too time consuming for Mods to govern. Because of this there has been a loss of some amazing members who are not active anymore. Now all we get is spamming of deals by Experts who know how to get easy heat on not so great deals.
JohnnyRoller09/10/2019 11:45

You should actively remove the “experts” from the beta programme that spam …You should actively remove the “experts” from the beta programme that spam the site with copied rubbish. The ones that religiously wait for 28 days to pass on hot deals, just to repost the same to earn their money/place as an expert. The same “expert” that steal deals from other websites and fail to credit any original posters. The same members who wait for someone to post a voucher code, then search HUKD for items from that seller, then repost the deal with the listed code...It’s ridiculous that you can fund members that follow this practice... anyone could do this lazy approach and spam out hundreds of hot deals.



We have had the 28 day rule on site way before we introduced the PEP Beta. They should not be criticised or singled out for doing something that we allow. We are a fast moving site with hundreds of deals/vouchers/freebies posted every day so being reminded of a great deal a month later is a benefit to the community.

The exact same goes for deals being used with already posted codes. All members can and do do it so PEP members should not be singled out. Of course they will because they are getting rewarded but I hardly think that is right. They aren't rewarded based on volume or heat etc.

As for taking deals (verbatim) from elsewhere, that is not acceptable and we've already confirmed that where we know this has happened (and we're certain) we'll remove the content from hotukdeals. We get SO much member content copied from this site to elsewhere so it happens all the time but we're happy to take action if we see it happening on this site.

More info on the PEP can be found here - Pepper Expert Program
Do Pepper experts votes eachother's deals hot so that they all get better rewards?
Mods say no, but I don't believe that for a second.
Edited by: "chimp14uk" 9th Oct
awiew09/10/2019 11:47

Slightly off topic however FS/FT was removed to make way for new changes …Slightly off topic however FS/FT was removed to make way for new changes such as the Pepper program. Another reason for its removal was because it was too time consuming for Mods to govern. Because of this there has been a loss of some amazing members who are not active anymore. Now all we get is spamming of deals by Experts who know how to get easy heat on not so great deals.



It really wasn't. FS/FT was removed in February 2017 and PEP was introduced in November 2018 (we can sometimes be a bit slow, but not that slow!). We removed FS/FT so hotukdeals could focus on being a deals platform.
chimp14uk09/10/2019 12:00

Do Pepper experts votes eachothers deals hot so that they all get better …Do Pepper experts votes eachothers deals hot so that they all get better rewards?Mods say no, but I don't believe it for a second.



They are scored and ranked against each other each month so hopefully that tells you they wouldn't want to be doing that In any event though they aren't rewarded based on "heat".
magicjay198609/10/2019 12:03

They are scored and ranked against each other each month so hopefully that …They are scored and ranked against each other each month so hopefully that tells you they wouldn't want to be doing that In any event though they aren't rewarded based on "heat".


So does the ranking affect what they earn or will they still get paid regardless?
And if they're not rewarded on heat or click throughs, what are they rewarded for?
magicjay198609/10/2019 12:03

They are scored and ranked against each other each month so hopefully that …They are scored and ranked against each other each month so hopefully that tells you they wouldn't want to be doing that In any event though they aren't rewarded based on "heat".



So if not heat, then volume? as there's not much else you can rank them on?
Edited by: "fearona" 9th Oct
chimp14uk09/10/2019 12:06

So does the ranking affect what they earn or will they still get paid …So does the ranking affect what they earn or will they still get paid regardless?And if they're not rewarded on heat or click throughs, what are they rewarded for?



It does, yes.

I can't share the factors we use because it is only known by a handful people at Pepper. PEP members do not know this.
fearona09/10/2019 12:07

So if not heat, then volume? as there's not much else you can rank them on?



There are many factors we consider. As I said above though it isn't something I can publicly share.
The site these days is more about making money than saving it

Sad times
ashmac09/10/2019 12:10

The site these days is more about making money than saving it Sad times



Any specific reasons why you think that?
magicjay198609/10/2019 12:08

There are many factors we consider. As I said above though it isn't …There are many factors we consider. As I said above though it isn't something I can publicly share.



There are very few factors really, heat/cold/volume what else can there possibly be as the amount being saved on a deal would not count? or is it down to the money the site makes from click throughs on their posts? The latter would make more sense apart from the amazon deals that get posted all the time.
magicjay198609/10/2019 12:08

It does, yes.I can't share the factors we use because it is only known by …It does, yes.I can't share the factors we use because it is only known by a handful people at Pepper. PEP members do not know this.


If I post a thousand Screwfix deals a day, can I become a Pepper expert?
ashmac09/10/2019 12:10

The site these days is more about making money than saving it Sad times



magicjay198609/10/2019 12:11

Any specific reasons why you think that?



Paying people to post deals springs to mind.
Edited by: "fearona" 9th Oct
fearona09/10/2019 12:12

There are very few factors really, heat/cold/volume what else can there …There are very few factors really, heat/cold/volume what else can there possibly be as the amount being saved on a deal would not count? or is it down to the money the site makes from click throughs on their posts? The latter would make more sense apart from the amazon deals that get posted all the time.


We have lots of data on deals, and how people engage with them. As @magicjay1986 has said, we don't publish the system we use, even to experts themselves. However, we can confirm that revenue is not part of the factors - it would go against everything we are trying to do here
chimp14uk09/10/2019 12:12

If I post a thousand Screwfix deals a day, can I become a Pepper expert?



No because they normally have items in stock
fearona09/10/2019 12:12

There are very few factors really, heat/cold/volume what else can there …There are very few factors really, heat/cold/volume what else can there possibly be as the amount being saved on a deal would not count? or is it down to the money the site makes from click throughs on their posts? The latter would make more sense apart from the amazon deals that get posted all the time.



I'm happy to answer questions but I can't provide anything on this because it is confidential.
Planty72009/10/2019 12:16

We have lots of data on deals, and how people engage with them. As …We have lots of data on deals, and how people engage with them. As @magicjay1986 has said, we don't publish the system we use, even to experts themselves. However, we can confirm that revenue is not part of the factors - it would go against everything we are trying to do here



So not heat, not cold, not volume, not revenue? Not much left really is there?
Looks like just another 1000+ post thread where every point raised by a member is simply rebutted. I'll pass, but thank you anyway.
I wonder why the reward system has to be top secret, surely if others know how it works it would encourage them to maybe post more and have a chance of some of the sites cash.
Right now we know experts are not rewarded on
Volume
Click throughs
Heat
Cold.
Edited by: "fearona" 9th Oct
fearona09/10/2019 12:17

So not heat, not cold, not volume, not revenue? Not much left really is …So not heat, not cold, not volume, not revenue? Not much left really is there?


I think this has been answered. There are multiple factors you can use to judge quality - if you have ever seen Google Analytics you can maybe imagine (we have that, plus our own bespoke, much more detailed tools on top). And as has been discussed lots on here, Heat is a good indicator but not the be-all and end-all of whether a deal is great or not.

However we aren't going to explain the formula, as we don't believe that will result in high quality, genuinely 'hot' deals being posted.
Planty72009/10/2019 12:23

I think this has been answered. There are multiple factors you can use to …I think this has been answered. There are multiple factors you can use to judge quality - if you have ever seen Google Analytics you can maybe imagine (we have that, plus our own bespoke, much more detailed tools on top). And as has been discussed lots on here, Heat is a good indicator but not the be-all and end-all of whether a deal is great or not.However we aren't going to explain the formula, as we don't believe that will result in high quality, genuinely 'hot' deals being posted.



And you believe it works and stops multiple crap deals being posted as well?
It's like the houses of parliament in here, round in circles with no answers ever really being given.
Edited by: "fearona" 9th Oct
fearona09/10/2019 12:25

And you believe it works and stops multiple crap deals being posted as …And you believe it works and stops multiple crap deals being posted as well?


It's not perfect - that is why it is still in Beta
fearona09/10/2019 12:17

So not heat, not cold, not volume, not revenue? Not much left really is …So not heat, not cold, not volume, not revenue? Not much left really is there?


Activity on the thread, that’s why the peppers spam reply to other posts on their deals to keep it active.
Planty72009/10/2019 12:25

It's not perfect - that is why it is still in Beta



Very long beta then.
fearona09/10/2019 12:17

So not heat, not cold, not volume, not revenue? Not much left really is …So not heat, not cold, not volume, not revenue? Not much left really is there?


It is all related to site traffic, new member registrations etc. etc. Hence why they allow Amazon deals (and other popular sites) to be posted that doesn’t provide HUKD commission. These continue the site growth and bring money in via other methods.

magicjay198609/10/2019 12:11

Any specific reasons why you think that?



It’s clear and obvious that money is what drives the sites decisions, “focus on the deals”... translated “focus on making money”. You make yourselves look silly when you try and act like it’s not about money. There’s nothing wrong with making money, so stop trying to act like that isn’t the driver here.

My arguments are that you are now paying members to spam the site for monetary gain, and you can’t even admit to it. That’s not to say all experts are posting in that manner, some actually put effort in to what they do.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you should be giving back to the members that have made this site what it is. Not alienating members by paying some and not others. You should consider things like FS/FT as that would be giving back to members. Instead you throwaway any suggestions without any consideration.

You then throw out some Flamedeer competitions to try and steady the ship. The site is just becoming a joke for existing members, and a feeding ground for eBay sellers and scalpers. Yet all of this benefits HUKD so it obviously doesn’t bother you.
fearona09/10/2019 12:20

I wonder why the reward system has to be top secret, surely if others know …I wonder why the reward system has to be top secret, surely if others know how it works it would encourage them to maybe post more and have a chance of some of the sites cash.Right now we know experts are not rewarded on VolumeClick throughsHeatCold.



My discussion was removed about Pepper experts being paid by HUKD. As above they're saying they can't disclose too much information.

This is the description on the Pepper program: " I’m not paid by merchants, I’m not paid by brands, I do not profit from you buying or not buying a product, ever." Which is simply not true since they are paid for posting deals. Highly misleading and just a blatant lie.
awiew09/10/2019 12:43

My discussion was removed about Pepper experts being paid by HUKD. As …My discussion was removed about Pepper experts being paid by HUKD. As above they're saying they can't disclose too much information. This is the description on the Pepper program: " I’m not paid by merchants, I’m not paid by brands, I do not profit from you buying or not buying a product, ever." Which is simply not true since they are paid for posting deals. Highly misleading and just a blatant lie.


When they are fed up responding in their own discussion thread they will do the same. They will either remove the thread completely, “tidy it up” (even though it is actually on topic for once), or they will close the comments off (most likely outcome).
JohnnyRoller09/10/2019 12:40

It is all related to site traffic, new member registrations etc. etc. …It is all related to site traffic, new member registrations etc. etc. Hence why they allow Amazon deals (and other popular sites) to be posted that doesn’t provide HUKD commission. These continue the site growth and bring money in via other methods. It’s clear and obvious that money is what drives the sites decisions, “focus on the deals”... translated “focus on making money”. You make yourselves look silly when you try and act like it’s not about money. There’s nothing wrong with making money, so stop trying to act like that isn’t the driver here. My arguments are that you are now paying members to spam the site for monetary gain, and you can’t even admit to it. That’s not to say all experts are posting in that manner, some actually put effort in to what they do.I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you should be giving back to the members that have made this site what it is. Not alienating members by paying some and not others. You should consider things like FS/FT as that would be giving back to members. Instead you throwaway any suggestions without any consideration. You then throw out some Flamedeer competitions to try and steady the ship. The site is just becoming a joke for existing members, and a feeding ground for eBay sellers and scalpers. Yet all of this benefits HUKD so it obviously doesn’t bother you.



Making money really isn't the determining factor for making decisions. I could keep telling you that but it is clear from some of the things you've said in this comment that you cannot be convinced otherwise.

For hotukdeals (and other Pepper sites) to run the site, pay the bills, pay the staff etc of course we need to be funded (which is accepted). We provide a free to use platform for people to get advice on products and hopefully bag a great deal.

We actively remove poor deals.
We suspend merchants who self promote.
We remove copied deals.
We don't allow all merchants on site.
We have criteria for marketplace.

These are ALL things that would impact revenue. We could easily not do those things above but we do it to increase deal quality on site.

Of course we want to grow our community and encourage people to post great deals and we can do that in many ways (Flamedeer, giveaways etc) but we need to have a great platform for them to stick around.
awiew09/10/2019 12:43

My discussion was removed about Pepper experts being paid by HUKD. As …My discussion was removed about Pepper experts being paid by HUKD. As above they're saying they can't disclose too much information. This is the description on the Pepper program: " I’m not paid by merchants, I’m not paid by brands, I do not profit from you buying or not buying a product, ever." Which is simply not true since they are paid for posting deals. Highly misleading and just a blatant lie.



It was removed because there is already a discussion on site for it (which the team copied to you in case you wanted to participate) - hotukdeals.com/dis…284
magicjay198609/10/2019 12:55

Making money really isn't the determining factor for making decisions. I …Making money really isn't the determining factor for making decisions. I could keep telling you that but it is clear from some of the things you've said in this comment that you cannot be convinced otherwise.For hotukdeals (and other Pepper sites) to run the site, pay the bills, pay the staff etc of course we need to be funded (which is accepted). We provide a free to use platform for people to get advice on products and hopefully bag a great deal. We actively remove poor deals. We suspend merchants who self promote.We remove copied deals.We don't allow all merchants on site. We have criteria for marketplace. These are ALL things that would impact revenue. We could easily not do those things above but we do it to increase deal quality on site. Of course we want to grow our community and encourage people to post great deals and we can do that in many ways (Flamedeer, giveaways etc) but we need to have a great platform for them to stick around.


Why do most of your giveaways involve Facebook and having to like the post, and then spamming your friends?
I'm sure it's against Facebook rules anyway.
Edited by: "chimp14uk" 9th Oct
chimp14uk09/10/2019 12:58

Why do most of your giveaways involve Facebook and having to like the …Why do most of your giveaways involve Facebook and having to like the post, and then spamming your friends?I'm sure it's against Facebook rules anyway.



Our social media team run their own promotions/giveaways as part of their work to grow those channels. If they run a competition it doesn't take one away from the site.

Which comp in particular? I'll happily flag with them.
magicjay198609/10/2019 12:55

We actively remove poor deals. We suspend merchants who self promote.We …We actively remove poor deals. We suspend merchants who self promote.We remove copied deals.We don't allow all merchants on site. We have criteria for marketplace.


Obviously you would want to remove a poor deal, because they don’t make you any money and take up space for money making deals...

Clearly you will actively prevent self promotion, you’re not a charity after all. The main retailers don’t need to self promote, so the smaller obscure retailers who may try to self promote are a higher risk anyway.

You remove copied deals within 28 days, you actively promote copying deals after 28 days...

You stop the merchants that are high risk, self promoters, foreign or the ones that don’t offer commission or fit the image.

Everyone has criteria for a website...

I’m not sure how any of those things affect revenue to be honest, if anything they are required to keep the site safe and secure. Also keeping it more friendly to the eye, rather than having extra junk deals and risky sellers to filter through.
Edited by: "JohnnyRoller" 9th Oct
JohnnyRoller09/10/2019 13:05

Obviously you would want to remove a poor deal, because they don’t make y …Obviously you would want to remove a poor deal, because they don’t make you any money and take up space for money making deals...Clearly you will actively prevent self promotion, you’re not a charity after all. The main retailers don’t need to self promote, so the smaller obscure retailers who may try to self promote are a higher risk anyway.You remove copied deals within 28 days, you actively promote copying deals after 28 days...You stop the merchants that are high risk, self promoters, foreign or the ones that don’t offer commission or fit the image.Everyone has criteria for a website...



Those assumptions aren't right. I think we aren't going to agree which is absolutely fine.

Anything else you want to raise feel free
magicjay198609/10/2019 13:09

Those assumptions aren't right. I think we aren't going to agree which is …Those assumptions aren't right. I think we aren't going to agree which is absolutely fine. Anything else you want to raise feel free


We are not going to agree because anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence can see that you can’t be honest. You hide stuff which you deem irrelevant, yet many members would like that information. You claim you do things with a different agenda, yet your actions speak louder than words. You delete any negative comment that relates to HUKD or its “experts”. You are removing far more “discussions” unnecessarily to keep your image intact.
Edited by: "JohnnyRoller" 9th Oct
magicjay198609/10/2019 12:59

Our social media team run their own promotions/giveaways as part of their …Our social media team run their own promotions/giveaways as part of their work to grow those channels. If they run a competition it doesn't take one away from the site. Which comp in particular? I'll happily flag with them.


hotukdeals.com/dis…938
Post a comment
Avatar
@
    Text

    Discussions

    Top Merchants