Frank DeBlasi and Tom Cangley are the founders of Hoopla Doopla, one of the best online money-saving sites on the web. Frank is an expert in the area of online shopping, and he’s using his expertise to educate online consumers in the areas of bargain hunting, online shopping safety and more, providing them with a better overall shopping experience.
In September 2008, in the midst of a struggling economy, Frank and Tom began planning out the concept for a web based money saving solution for online shoppers. Two young, energetic entrepreneurs, Frank and Tom not only combined their thoughts in the idea behind Hoopla Doopla, but put their 15 plus years of knowledge and experience to work in building the entire product themselves from the ground up.
Hoopla Doopla, Inc. is a leading cash back shopping website, providing coupon codes, discounts, daily deals and cash back from over 1700 online stores.
MO: How does Hoopla Doopla work?
Frank: We get paid a marketing commission for each purchase made through the site by our members. More than half of that commission goes to the member, IN CASH! It’s that simple. We also provide expert advice on bargain hunting, online shopping safety, budgeting, and more, offering our members a smarter, safer online shopping experience.
MO: What inspired you to start Hoopla Doopla and how has your background and experience helped develop the company? If you had to start again, is there anything that you would do differently?
Frank: A true bargain hunter, I have always been big on saving money. I like to get the most bang for my buck. It’s not just something I feel is necessary, I actually enjoy the thrill of getting a good deal! I know how great it feels to save money. Helping other people save, that feeling is even greater. I can proudly say, I’ve done my job.
By trade, I am a web and digital media professional. With startup money hard to come by these days, these skills would prove to be valuable in getting my business off the ground. My cofounder, Tom Cangley and I were able to combine our 15+ years of experience, and save lots of money by building the entire site ourselves from the ground up.
If I were to start over today, I would have gotten my marketing plan together before launching my product. It can be a bit of a struggle assembling and executing a marketing plan once the business is moving.
MO: How hard was it to put this unique business model into practice?
Frank: Putting a business model like this together involves a lot of strategic planning, as well as close attention to detail. Whenever there is money involved with your customers, there is no room for error. Through months of testing, Tom and I had to make sure the site software flawlessly tracked all transactions and payments, and the user interface was simple to use and well documented. Both of those key components working together allow Hoopla Doopla to function flawlessly.
MO: You actually give money back to your customers for shopping, which sounds almost too good to be true. Did you initially have a hard time convincing people that Hoopla Doopla was legitimate?
Frank: We are asked this question quite often. For a concept that does seem too good to be true, we surprisingly had little to no problem convincing people that we were legit. A big help in that matter was immediately being recognized by the national media, building trust to the general public in our concept. We had television appearances and articles written about us which people gave great feedback to.
MO: You founded Hoopla Doopla in 2008, when the economy first started to suffer. How has the company evolved since you initially started it?
Frank: Putting money in people’s pockets in a good or bad economy is a good thing, as people are always looking to save or earn a buck. We took this a step further with our company referral program. Through this program, our members become revenue sharing partners in our business. In addition to getting cash back on their own shopping, the can now put money in their pockets when other members shop as well. When our members refer new members to our site through the program, they become referrals of theirs and earn 20% of their cash back earnings.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Hoopla Doopla?
Frank: Hoopla Doopla is constantly developing and adding new features and enhancements. In addition to offering great deals and cash back, we know our shoppers. We monitor their shopping activity, and plan to use this data to intelligently display more content suited to their preferences, enhancing their overall online shopping experience.
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