A FountainOfBargains.com is creation of Community Color. Like many unemployed web designers, I found myself trying to find ways to making a living from internet content and community sites. It doesn't work. Advertising rates are too low, and you end up compromising the integrity of the content site with the ads.
Although I would have preferred to concentrate on my favorite topics: math, photography and philosophy. Economic necessity forced me to turn first to the world of ecommerce. Instead of finding a paradise, I found a sad word of gimmicks and misinformation.
Marketers seem to concentrate on issues of tricking people into different behaviors. Being an idealist at heart, I found myself wondering if I could create sites that helped people, rather than trying to manipulate them.
My first attack the the challenge was to create local community directories. The purpose of such directories is to give communities a quick way to view the works of local web publishers. Of course, the dilemma in such directories is that I would either have to charge for listings and have a lower quality site, or allow people to list their sites for free and have a higher quality directory. I chose the latter route.
I did make the compromise that, if a local store has an affiliate program, I would join the affiliate program. Many chain stores have affiliate programs. So, although I was really wanted to concentrate solely on local web development, I included national chain stores that have affiliate programs. In my opinion, neither compromise detracted that heavily from the community.
In the first year and a half of the program. Only 8 of the programs have actually ever paid anything. The total payments come to less than my web hosting costs.
Still without income, I realized that to make internet commerce work, I would need a site that was nothing but internet commerce. So I registered the domain AFountainOfBargains.com . The whole goal of A Fountain of Bargains is to highlight the best stores (well, of the subset that pay commissions). On this site, I list internet sales, discount stores, etc.. I released the site on 4/12/2003.