The world's most visited Bitcoin news site has decided to implement a deal section full of “exclusive” offers. The problem is, they don't accept Bitcoin and the offers don't appear to be exclusive.
Coindesk Deals appears to be using StackSocial, a platform that is a bit like Groupon or LivingSocial, only with a focus on software and gadgets. StackSocial also allows other sites to act as a sort of front for them and sends a kickback to the publisher for each purchase in a program called StackCommerce.
From the StackCommerce About page:
“The StackCommerce platform is a full-service commerce solution that provides publishers a simple and effective way to generate additional revenue by organically weaving relevant commerce into the reader's daily experience. Add a new, incremental revenue stream by offering exclusive products to your audience directly on your site.”
CoinDesk has not officially stated that they are using StackCommerce, but the similarities of the two sites and various other sites that also use StackCommerce, along with the identical deals confirm that these deals aren't “exclusive” to CoinDesk. Sites besides Stacksocial that currently have the same deals as CoinDesk Deals include Cult of Mac and IndieGameBundles. Both of those sites' deals page also offer the same 10 % off deal that is found at CoinDesk Deals and have nearly identical layouts.
It is possible that CoinDesk and StackSocial may have plans for Bitcoin related products in the future that will be exclusive to CoinDesk Deals.
The use of StackCommerce also explains why CoinDesk Deals doesn't currently accept bitcoin. Since it is actually StackSocial that is selling the deals and not CoinDesk, it isn't up to CoinDesk. Until StackSocial accepts bitcoin in some fashion, neither can CoinDesk Deals.
Buying through CoinDesk Deals does give them a bit of a kickback without costing the buyer any more than those deals cost at SocialStack or other SocialCommerce sites. So it is still an interesting and free way to support a crypto-media organization.
We have reached out to CoinDesk, asking them what is behind their “exclusive” claim and when they will accept bitcoin. We are awaiting their response. A regular contributor to CoinDesk, that writes under the pen name John Law, stated that CoinDesk Deals will be accepting bitcoin soon and that a change in the payment processor delayed things.
That is an interesting reason, because CoinDesk was founded by Shakil Khan, an early investor in BitPay. It seems that finding a payment processor would be their strength.
It is a wonder why they didn't delay the launch of the whole program. Bitcoin is the almost exclusive focus of CoinDesk and not launching CoinDesk Deals with bitcoin support has caused some outrage in the community. In a Reddit thread decrying the lack of Bitcoin support, users are posting accusations that CoinDesk doesn't have Bitcoin's best interest at heart.
That accusation is without merit. CoinDesk was one of the first cryptocurrency media outlets and their continued survival is dependent on Bitcoin's survival. Granted, media companies can always change their focus, but that is not something you wish for when you are leading (by pure viewership numbers) the space that you are already in. Writers would have to rebuild contacts in whatever new subject they decide to enter, web designers would have to redesign the entire site and the reputation CoinDesk has built up in the Bitcoin community would not translate to another realm. Love them or hate them, if you follow bitcoin, you have probably heard of CoinDesk. People who don't follow bitcoin aren't likely to know CoinDesk's name at all. Therefore, they have as much of an interest in Bitcoin surviving as anyone.
Still, the decision to launch without Bitcoin support seems like a questionable one. It is possible that financial obligations forced them to move forward without support or that they underestimated the negative reaction that it would create.
We will update this space if and when CoinDesk responds.
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