MoneySavingExpert.com

MoneySavingExpert.com is a British consumer finance information and discussion website, founded by financial journalist Martin Lewis in February 2003. The website focus is to provide people with information on saving money in the form of deals, tips and journalistic articles. In September 2012, it was bought by the moneysupermarket.com group for a value of £87M.[2] Since 2015, Lewis has taken on the role of executive chairman, overseeing 100 staff and editors reviewing and updating the site.[3] The website provides financial advice to interested consumers through numerous media, initially solely through a weekly "Money Tips" email, and expanding to include detailed guides and free tools.[4] The website also aims to accelerate day-to-day financial communication, facilitated through the forum and campaigning work.[4]

MoneySavingExpert.com
MoneySavingExpert logo.png
Type of site
Finance
Available inEnglish
OwnerMoneysupermarket.com
Created byMartin Lewis
URLmoneysavingexpert.com
CommercialYes
LaunchedFebruary 2003 (2003-02)

OverviewEdit

MoneySavingExpert.com declares itself as the UK's biggest independent financial advisory website, with 13 million users a month.[5] This may appear to be incorrect, noting that the organisation is wholly owned by the Moneysupermarket.com group, following its purchase in September 2012. However, MoneySavingExpert.com remains editorially independent, as part of the contractually binding Editorial Code.[4]

Although the website was set up in 2003 solely to share tips rather than make money, the rapid rate of expansion within the first year meant the sheer running costs of the website required revenue generation.[4] The websites' fundamental set up as a free-to-use advisory service that doesn't allow advertisement means that all links and products on the pages has been selected through independent research by the team.[6] As such, to generate revenue the website contains affiliate links to merchants, which are tracked when clicked and may generate a payment to the site.[6] This can be on a pay per click basis, pay per user basis or other methods deemed appropriate.[6]

The choice of which content to advertise is made in part based on which will generate the most money, dependent upon whether it is the most efficient and beneficial item for consumers. However, these links are technologically created, meaning they are not entirely error-free.[6] MoneySavingExpert.com maintains ethical integrity in its commitment to notifying consumers as to which links are affiliated, indicated by an asterisk (*) after the link.[6]

With the growth of the business and accelerating website traffic, these links have generated profit beyond the running costs of the website. The website's profits are estimated to reach up to £100 on the sale of financial products through these affiliate links.[6] In the year ending 31 October 2011, MSE had revenue of £16m and profits of £12.6m.[7] A small proportion[4] of this income is donated to charity; of this, two thirds is donated to the MSE Charity,[8] and the rest is donated to five other nominated charities by members.[4] Lewis has also caused disquiet in Affiliate Marketing circles for promoting cashback sites [9] where the consumer gets the money for affiliate payments for themselves. This is likely to have had a substantial impact on the revenue generated by the site.

Site elementsEdit

The MoneySavingExpert.com franchise consists of four key tools:

Weekly emailEdit

Martin's Free Money Tips email is reportedly sent to over thirteen million recipients every week[4] and contains a mixture of editorial articles and the best and current tips from users in the site's Forums. The aim of this email is to keep consumers up to date as two-thirds of deals released expire within the first week of release.

MoneySavingExpert.com Best Buy Guides & ArticlesEdit

The main site has a large variety of "Best Buy" guides, designed to be extremely detailed to provide specific tips and top products to consumers to increase ease of use.[4]

"MoneySaving" ToolsEdit

MoneySavingExpert.com creates and hosts their own price comparison tools including a flight price checker, Premium Bonds calculator and a budget planner.[4]

The MoneySavingExpert.com ForumsEdit

The site has numerous forums, with tens of millions of posts and well over a million users in total, split into subject boards used to discuss different matters related to money and finance (including loans, benefits, debt, shopping, etc.), as well as a few forums for general chat.[10] It is important to note that these are considered open forums, meaning that advice or information within the posts are not checked by the website team, and thus not considered 'published', thereby absolving MoneySavingExpert.com of legal liability for any false claims or incorrect advice given.[10] It reasons this as it would be impractical and an unnecessary burden on resources to read and approve the thousands of comments that are made on the site daily. Instead, MoneySavingExpert.com uses a 'report-a-post' system, whereby users report specific posts they deem to be inappropriate for the advice forum.[10] These can include offensive posts, posts unrelated to monetary activities or posts by companies promoting their own products. Only after the posts are reported are they deemed legally published by the website.[10]

PetitionsEdit

The website has launched three petitions:

  • The first aimed to have the secured loan adverts banned from children's television which the site claims received 45,000 signatures. This campaign was the subject of a Parliamentary early day motion.[11]
  • The second, launched in collaboration with the Consumer Credit Counselling Service and Credit Action, appealed to Carol Vorderman to stop appearing in secured loan advertising.[12] This petition received over 80,000 signatures.[13][14]
  • The third was in conjunction with the site's work on Bank Charges,[15] and was placed on the UK Prime Minister's website, attracting over 70,000 signatures.

Both of these campaigns have been the subject of Parliamentary early day motions.[16]

CampaignsEdit

In August 2006 the site started to develop a system to check whether people were in the correct council tax band. Over a number of months an increasing number of people reported £1000s in backdated payouts.[17] On 26 January 2007 Martin Lewis presented a Tonight programme on this following up the successes from the site; it rated 4.5 million viewers and saw the site covered in many national newspapers including the full front pages of the Express and Metro.

During late 2005, the issue of reclaiming unfair bank charges was highlighted and a few small websites started to highlight the issue. The site has been one of the main campaigning forces on this ever since.[15] In November 2006 the original article was updated by a step-by-step guide, including template letters which speedily achieved its 1,000,000th download towards the end of February 2007.[18] Martin Lewis has also regularly appeared across the media to champion the issue. By January 2008 over 4.4m template letters had been downloaded.[6]

Other large-scale campaigns for the website include reclaiming council tax,[19] payment protection insurance,[20] reclaiming mortgage exit fees [21] and reclaiming credit card charges [22] all of which have had over 100,000 people using template letter downloads.[6]

The site also provides support for saynoto0870.com, a website that provides geographical alternative telephone numbers to 0870 numbers and similar.

Charity contributionsEdit

MoneySavingExpert.com regularly contributes to charities nominated by site users. It is estimated that £100,000 was donated in the 2006-2007 year.[23] In previous years all money has been given to nominated charities based on the percentage of the vote given by site users, but it has been announced that in the future a new registered charity, the MoneySavingExpert.com Charitable Fund, will distribute the money. It has also been announced that a proportion of the money will fund a feasibility study into setting up a "MoneySaving Kids charity" to help educate children about how to be consumers.[24]

In December 2006 the book Thrifty Ways for Modern Days was launched by the site. Uniquely, the book was compiled completely from advice given on the threads of the MoneySaving Old Style section of the site.[10] As the book was created from community knowledge and only edited by Martin Lewis, it was decided that all profits from the book would go to the MoneySavingExpert.com Charitable Fund.[25]

TrafficEdit

As of September 2020, the site has a global Alexa rank of 8,891 and a UK rank of 175.[26]

Awards and supportEdit

  • The site has been praised by a specific Early Day Motion in the House of Commons[27]
  • Winner of the New Media award at the Personal Finance Media Awards, November 2005[28]
  • The Guardian newspaper wrote that the site has "a fearsome reputation for deconstructing the deals on offer from the banks and building societies to find out whether they are really good value"[29]
  • The Times listed the site as one of "ten that stun with sheer insight or inspired rich media".[30]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Moneysavingexpert.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Oscar Williams-Grut (January 15, 2005). "Martin Lewis the Money Saving Expert just got a £19 million windfall". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "About MoneySavingExpert-com". Independent. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  5. ^ "Money Saving Expert: Consumer Revenge". Independent. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Stats section". Linked In. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-30. Retrieved 2012-10-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Charity Commission. The MSE Charity, registered charity no. 1121320.
  9. ^ "Martin Lewis". Affiliates4u.com. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2010-11-08.
  10. ^ a b c d e "MoneySavingExpert - Business commenting in a forum". Resolver. 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  11. ^ "Early Day Motion - Debt: Not in Front of the Children Campaign". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  12. ^ Poulter, Sean (2006-05-04). "Vorderman attacked over ads". London Evening Standard. ES London. Archived from the original on 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  13. ^ Taylor, Paul (2007-02-12). "Mr Supersaver's on a mission". Manchester Evening News. MEN Media. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  14. ^ Henley, Jon (2011-06-08). "Ask Martin Lewis for expert money saving tips". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-04-23.
  15. ^ a b "Bank Charges: Reclaim your money". Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  16. ^ "Early Day Motion - Debt: Not in Front of the Children Campaign". Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  17. ^ "Council Tax Cashback: Reclaim £1000s". Retrieved 2007-01-20.
  18. ^ Hickman, Martin (23 February 2007). "From banks to football, the consumers' revolt grows". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 25 February 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2007.
  19. ^ "Council Tax Reclaiming". Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  20. ^ "Loan Insurance Reclaiming". Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  21. ^ "Mortgage Fee Reclaiming". Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  22. ^ "Credit Card Reclaiming". Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  23. ^ Lewis, Martin (2006-10-08). "New Site Charity Nominations Now Open". Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  24. ^ Lewis, Martin. "Moneysavingexpert.com - The Charity Fund". Retrieved 2006-08-27.
  25. ^ Lewis, Martin. "Moneysavingexpert-com - About the MoneySaving Books". Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  26. ^ "moneysavingexpert.com Competitive Analysis, Marketing Mix and Traffic - Alexa". www.alexa.com. Retrieved 2020-09-17.
  27. ^ "House of Commons. Tuesday 25 January 2005. Notices of Motions for which no days have been fixed ('Early Day Motions')". House of Commons. 25 January 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-07-15. Retrieved 2006-08-13.
  28. ^ "2005 Bradford & Bingley Personal Finance Media Awards Winners Unveiled". Bradford & Bingley. 9 November 2005. Archived from the original on October 6, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-14.
  29. ^ Patrick Collinson (September 17, 2005). "Now time has come to end this mis-selling scandal". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2006-08-13.
  30. ^ Simon Kurs; Sally Kinnes (January 1, 2006). "Kings of the online jungle". London: The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2006-08-13.

External linksEdit