Online shopping has revolutionised the game, with big brands like Amazon leading the way by selling anything you could possibly imagine for unbeatable prices. Many retailers have had to step up their e-commerce tactics by offering unmissable deals with fast shipping.

While sales are all well and good, in today’s economy, I’m sure you can agree a further discount is never a bad thing! You don’t just want to save money at certain times of the year, e.g. Black Friday or summer sales, it’s better to have constant access to a variety of vouchers.

Now one aspect I miss about university is UniDays, having a constant flow of 20% off vouchers being sent to my email was pure bliss, but also probably the reason why I was so broke. Anyway, back to my point, I think it’s unfair when you’re working you lose all rights to receive a discount unless your employer is kind and provides PerkBox (thanks Joe).

So, you either have to pay full price, which no one wants to or attempt to scan the internet and only find a 10% off voucher that expired in 2013. This is where an extension of Chrome, called Honey comes into play. This application allows you to scan websites to find the best deals available on a specific product? Perfect! But is it?…

Yes, this seems impressive as you’re saving money, but surely there’s got to be a catch, as there always is. The first red flag is that Honey is an extension of your browser which means that you are giving it major power and permissions, so how do you determine that you aren’t being sucked into yet another scam. Now, don’t worry I’ve gone full FBI mode to find out whether this service lives up to its expectations or is one big scam.

About Honey

In 2012, the founder of Honey, Ryan Hudson a father of 2 was experiencing financial issues one evening, he went to order a pizza and thought why isn’t there an application that automatically scans the web for discount codes. So that night he built a prototype for his browser. Cut a long story short, Hudson produced an app, which grew in popularity and now, it’s a full-blown browser extension for Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc. which has been installed over 5 million times.

The way it works is simple, once downloaded the application adds the extension to a store’s page on a wide variety of retailers online, e.g. Amazon, Beauty Bay and ASOS. Like most plugins and extensions, the app simply adds a small Honey icon to the page as you shop for products, making it easy to figure out when a deal is worth using.

After installing the app, you’re asked to sign in by either making a Honey account or via social media. Although beware when signing in with your social media, as the account chosen syncs to both positive and negative aspects of Honey which you may not be aware of. Once you’ve logged in, you’re brought to a feed which includes all deals and money-back offers, and a benefit with using Honey is you can personalise your feed to display offers suited to you.

The way Honey tends to make money is by featuring special offers and creating partnership deals with retailers for a share of the profit. However, Honey also makes a profit from Honey Gold, which is their rewards programme that will give a customer a certain percentage back when they shop at Honey’s approved ‘partner’ sites. From this, the customer can gain points which in the long run will earn them vouchers, e.g. £20 off vouchers naturally entices people to carry on using Honey if they believe they will get a reward.

Using Honey

From my experience when using the app, after uploading my details and my style preferences I was disappointed to find that only a handful of discounts where found. So, I did some research to see if any other people have had the same issue, and it looks like I’m not alone.

Journalist Natalia Buenaventura reported;

‘I love the concept and think it’s long overdue. It’s great how it pulls out coupon codes from most places and saves you so much work; however, there are just a couple of problems.

First, I wish they would update their codes more actively. Sometimes I get hit with one that expired in 2017. I know they don’t update them manually but maybe working that out on the software side. Most coupons expire within a month or so, making it a bit ridiculous that the app is trying to make coupons that are two years old. Sometimes, on a website Honey reloads the page and exits you out of the checkout process which is annoying but not enough to invalidate how good it is’’.

With Honey, there’re a few points you should consider, in this world, nothing is for free, so when an application like Honey is offered for free you must think what are they getting from this? Make sure you’re careful with the information that you reveal to Honey, as nine times out of 10 if you aren’t paying, you’re the product.

Now don’t start to now panic and think Honey is going to sell my information! Honey state on their company website that they’ve never sold to third-parties and they do in fact have a very transparent privacy policy. The app is relatively private, and Honey have done their best to address people’s worries by creating an easy to read the privacy policy posted in May 2018 which allows all to understand how Honey handles their data. They also make it clear about what data they collect on their website, and if you don’t agree with their privacy policy, it is simple to uninstall the application. If you’re seeing red flags and are concerned about the data they collect, definitely take a read at their policy on their website, but to summarise, Honey collects your devices ID and IP address, URLs, your operating system, how you engage with sites, and browser type.

Honey is a great concept, as it does all the hard work for you but when it doesn’t work for the brands you like, what’s the point of even using it? Also, the other issue that people have is how Honey collects and tracks data!

As we live in a world where data is very valuable, we should be aware of what companies are doing with our information and ensure our data is being kept securely. Whether or not you consider Honey’s data access too much or not, they are transparent about what they collect and what they do with your data and information. From my experience, I would still use Honey on the off chance I could save £20, because why not! And if you’re still concerned, take a read of their privacy policy in the link below.