Beesavy.com ‘takes the sting out of online shopping’
By Steve Virkler
A north country man has launched a website intended to make online shopping easier and less expensive.
“You don’t have to go to multiple sites to buy what you want to buy,” said Robert E. Honer, the founder of Beesavy.com. Mr. Honer, an Adams resident and Lewis County native, has spent the past decade working in the enterprise software business, selling advanced planning systems to Fortune 500 companies.
The website venture, including 21 months of development split between teams in San Diego, Calif., and India, stemmed from a desire to simplify online shopping and, given the stagnant economy, help shoppers save money, he said.
The project was also attractive because, unlike his day job, it offered the potential for a large volume of users and no need for technical education, Mr. Honer said. “It’s the opposite of what I do in my job,” he said.
The site offers links to nearly 2,000 online retailers and will search for the lowest prices on any item, figuring in any available discounts, along with sales tax and shipping costs.
“We got just about all the big boys signed up first,” Mr. Honer said.
The retailers also pay a percentage commission, which varies by the store and even the day, to Beesavy.com for sending shoppers their way, he said.
Half of that commission is paid back to the shopper, provided he or she is a registered Beesavy.com user, while the other half goes to members of his referral chain. The person who refers the shopper directly gets 40 percent of the referral pot, while those going back from two to seven referral levels get 10 percent each. “It’s no investment, and people don’t have to tell anybody,” Mr. Honer said.
However, the site does offer several methods, including email, Facebook and Twitter messages, to advertise the site and seek referrals, he said.
“We’ve added a social media concept to it,” Mr. Honer said.
The site had 577 registered users at the end of October, and more than 1,000 are projected by the end of this month, he said. “It’s an easy sell, because it’s not a sale.” Mr. Honer said.
Cash-back totals may be claimed by check or PayPal or donated to several major charities.
People may also choose to use the site as a side business, with brochures, business cards and other such products available for purchase, and free Internet ads for Beesavy.com may be placed on websites or blogs to “monetize” them, Mr. Honer said.
Churches, schools and other charities could also use the site for fundraisers by referring people to it, he said.
While on-site advertising and undistributed cash-back payments provide some revenue for the site, Mr. Honer said the project was more of an effort to create a shopping site he would like to use than a massive money-making venture. “
And I would like nothing better than if local people would make money,” he said.
Mr. Honer, a Beaver River Central School graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree from Clarkson University, Potsdam, in 1998 and a master’s degree from Syracuse University in 2000. He lives in Adams with his wife, Rebekah.