‘Win’ing Web sites

A new Web site targeted at USF students offers discounts with few strings attached.

eWinWin.com, which was established 11 years ago as a software publisher for companies looking to advertise through social networks, offers students coupons online for locations around USF.

The company, run by CEO Greg Mesaros, built a Tampa office nearly three years ago and offered paid internships to students in the USF College of Business – establishing early ties to the University.

Now that the site is developed, eWinWin offers a section devoted to businesses surrounding USF. This section, which launched three weeks ago, was the first in the country and already has 1,100 subscribing USF students, Mesaros said. The site has since branched out to include UF and FSU.

“It’s now imperative going after college students who want to get together and help the suppliers and businesses but also get a great deal,” Mesaros said.

Samuel Rodriguez, a freshman majoring in mechanical engi-neering, said he has saved money by purchasing discount meals on the site.

“For college students with small wallets, it is definitely the most affordable way to buy a variety of off-campus foods,” he said.

The site allows its registered users who download coupons to become promoters, with the option to endorse deals to friends through their own social networking site, such as MySpace or Facebook. This helps businesses joining to cut costs of advertising.

This is eWinWin’s primary form of advertising, and it’s the reason why companies are signing on to work with the site and offer deals, according to Jon Solomon, business correspondent for the site.

Another benefit of linking discounts is the “group buying” aspect of the site. The more people who download a coupon, the better the discount becomes, Solomon said.

This allows popularity to help determine discount values.

The site also features interactive forums and a blog. But on the USF branch of the Web site, there are only two posts.

Discounts are usually limited to a specific day and don’t always pertain to food. Yesterday’s deal, a large cheese pizza from ABC Pizza for 51 percent off retail price, was downloaded 11 times by 3 p.m.

Upcoming deals, which are previewed early on the site, include coupons for 50 percent off at Bruster’s Ice Cream and 51 percent off a haircut at Fade Masters. Students can register for free and subscribe to an e-mail list or follow on social networking sites. They can also request their favorite businesses.

“People often assume in regards to business that if I gain then (the customer) has to lose something,” Mesaros said. “This has never been our mantra.”