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Page last updated at 17:28 GMT, Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Cutting out the search for vouchers

Mark Pearson
Mark Pearson came up with his idea after making an online purchase
Watch: Rachel's report
As Christmas is getting closer many shoppers on the look out for a bargain are turning to online discount vouchers.

These used to be a case of cut out and keep, but now emails and websites mean that discounts can be circulated much farther and faster.

Mark Pearson is a man who has worked out a way to make a living from customers' desire for a discount.

One year ago he launched a website listing all the promotional codes he could find on the internet for shoppers to use online and in store.

In November he had over two million visitors to his website and since it started operating he reckons users have saved more than 3m.

Mark's revenue comes from online sponsors and advertising links, and through affiliate marketing which pays him commission on sales generated.

He came up with the business idea while making a purchase on the internet.

"This time last year I was buying a train ticket online and I got to the checkout box and it said promotional code but I didn't have one. I searched on the internet and went from one website to another and found some discounts but some of them didn't work.

"Eventually one worked, but it took me 25 minutes. So that's where the idea came from to put them all in one easy place for everyone to share," Mark told Working Lunch.

MyVoucherCodes website
In November over two million users visited the website

"The site evolved just from a very basic website listing the discounts that I use to find... and now the big retailers are working with us and sending us discounts direct. They really want to be promoted in the site," he said.

Kevin Hawkins from the British Retail Consortium says that promotional vouchers are a good way for retailers to reward their loyal customers.

"Of course they can pass it on to friends and neighbours who might be interested. That's good news for the retailer because it widens the net of potential customers," Kevin added.

Watch Rachel's report at the top of the page for more on this story.

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